Over Thirty

If you want to have children don't leave it too late. Women start to have fertility problems once they hit their thirties.

Fertility Decreases With Age

Once you hit 30 your fertility starts to decrease every year so that even at thirty five you are much less likely to be able to get pregnant straight away. Almost one in five women over 35 take more than a year to get pregnant compared to less than one in ten under 26. Other research suggests that women over 35 are half as likely to have a healthy baby as women ten years younger.

The situation gets worse and worse until you are over 40 and then your fertility will be down to about 5% and still dropping. That is why so many women have to resort to assisted reproduction of one sort or another. You may see all these celebrities having children over 40 but a lot of the time they are using donor eggs or having in-vitro fertilization. Once you are over 45 it is almost impossible to conceive naturally, especially if you've never had children.

And this is for healthy women who have regular normal length cycles and no previous history of fertility problems. If you have had previous fertility problems, have short cycles or irregular periods, are under or over weight, or have endometriosis then your chances of getting pregnant in your mid to late 30's are even lower.


Women are born with all their eggs and as we age so do our eggs. This means that if we put off having children too long, the quality of our remaining eggs may be too low to enable us to get pregnant. Or we may be able to get pregnant but not be able to stay pregnant and keep having miscarriages. If you want to know how good your eggs are, doctors are now able to offer fertility assessment tests, although you'll probably have to go private.


Male fertility overall has fallen by 50% over the last half century and it also seems to decline with age, although not to the same extent as women's. Because sperm are continually produced throughout a man's life it is possible to affect the quality of the sperm by making better lifestyle choices. For some men all they need to do to get their partner pregnant is to give up smoking!

What To Do

If you are over 35 and trying to get pregnant and haven't succeeded within three or four months of trying - don't wait around. You don't have time.

· Go and see a specialist to get you and your partner a fertility work up

· Improve both your diets and cut out stimulants like coffee and alcohol and give up smoking

· Learn about fertility awareness, how to chart your cycle and make sure you are 'trying' on your fertile days

· Take a good vitamin supplement and get your partner to take one too

· Start taking a folic acid supplement to prevent possible birth defects

· Tight jeans, hot baths and long bike rides can affect sperm quality so make sure your man wears boxers and keeps cool 'down there'

· Make sure your weight is right for your height


If you are 40 or over go to your GP straight away and discuss assisted reproductive techniques and whether they are appropriate for you.

Remember the older you are the harder it is to get pregnant so don't put off having children too long.