Advanced Female Partner Age & Fertility

January 25, 2024
In vitro fertilization (IVF)

Timing is a critical factor when you want to embark on the journey of parenthood. There is a delicate relationship between fertility and the advanced age of the female partner. It is well documented that there is an increase in infertility when a female gets older. It is because the egg quality and quantity reduce, and so does the embryo quality after fertilisation. Women of advanced age end up looking at IVF to overcome this issue. Read below to get more insights into this crucial reproductive health facet.

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What is Advanced Female Partner Age?

Advanced maternal age or advanced female partner age is any woman who is 35 years of age or older at the time of conception. Usually, the first period for a girl starts at the age of 12 or 13 and is considered the start of the reproductive age. The end of the reproductive age is when menopause happens, which is when the last period is experienced. There is no standard definition for advanced reproductive or maternal age, as there is no specific time when the effects of increased age begin. However, what is known from research and documentation is that the fertility of women after 35 years decreases as there is a reduction in the quantity and quality of eggs. So, women over 35 years old have a delay in conception and are at a higher risk of miscarriage and pregnancy-related complications.

Why is There a Decline in Fertility with Advanced Female Age?

There are many reasons attributed to the decline of fertility as female age advances. It includes:

  • Reproductive Abnormalities: As age advances for women, there are many gynaecological problems that they face, including the presence of fibroids in the uterus, endometrial polyps, fallopian tube damage, etc. These are physical problems that increase infertility in women.
  • Aged eggs: A girl is born with all the eggs for her lifetime. The ovarian reserve starts to reduce, which affects the quantity and quality of eggs. Also, as women age, there can be chromosomal damage that affects the chance of conception, causing infertility or increased chances of abortion.
  • Reduction in libido: It is found that there is less desire for intercourse as the female age advances. Also, if the male partner is of advanced age, there is a decline in sperm quality, which causes male infertility.

Risks of Pregnancy Associated with Advanced Female Age?

If you are a woman of more than 35 years of age and plan to start a family, it is recommended that you consult a gynecologist and get a thorough medical examination to have a healthy pregnancy. The intention of this visit should be to check if any undetected medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension, thyroid, etc., can hamper the chances of conception. These chronic diseases, if not managed properly, can lead to female infertility, affect the baby’s growth and development and affect pregnancy outcomes. Also, being obese or even overweight affects the chances and can impact pregnancy outcomes. So it is essential to get the best advice on diet and exercise. Also, a woman should know the risks of advanced maternal age and take precautions. Here are some of the risks:

  • Failure to conceive: Female age and fertility are inversely proportional. There is a high conception rate for younger women, and the conception chances are reduced with advancing age. Fertilisation and implantation chances also reduce with age when compared to younger age. If you are over 35 years old and have been trying to conceive for more than 6 months, it is best to speak to a gynecologist for advice.
  • Chances of gestational diabetes: This is a type of diabetes that happens to some pregnant women. When that happens, it is essential to control the blood sugar levels, as they impact the baby’s growth and development and the baby may also have complications post-delivery.
  • Chances of developing blood pressure: Older women are at a high risk of hypertension during pregnancy, as per research. So, it is important for women of advanced maternal age to regularly monitor it, along with checking the baby’s growth and development.
  • Premature delivery and low birth weight: There is a high risk of premature delivery and low birth weight due to other medical complications in women of advanced maternal age.
  • High chances of C-Section: There are many pregnancy-related complications that make normal delivery unlikely.
  • Chromosomal abnormality: Chromosomal defects like Down’s syndrome are seen in babies born to women of advanced age.
  • Risk of abortions and early pregnancy loss: Older women are at risk of spontaneous abortions and early pregnancy loss, as well as miscarriage. It is also found that advancing paternal age also poses health risks to the baby due to decreasing quality of the gametes (Eggs & Sperms)

How to Improve Pregnancy Chances in Advanced Maternal Age?

Many couples delay starting a family for many reasons, due to which women start trying to conceive after 35 years of age. To improve female fertility and chances of pregnancy, here are a few things to do;

  • Maintain a healthy weight through exercise and proper diet.
  • Following a healthy diet rich in Vitamin D, calcium, folic acid, nutrients, iron, etc.
  • Taking prenatal vitamins a few months before conception after advice from a doctor.
  • Taking medications only after consulting a healthcare provider.
  • Avoiding alcohol, smoking, etc.
  • A preconception check to know if there are any undiagnosed medical conditions and to take treatment for them.

Female Infertility Treatment Options for Women of Advanced Maternal Age

While there are certain risks associated with advanced maternal age and conception, there are many medical advancements that have made it possible for women over 35 years old who have infertility to conceive. These treatment options can help deliver healthy babies and have a healthy pregnancy. Depending on her age, family history, health status, etc., a woman who wants to conceive at an advanced maternal age has the following choices.

Natural conception: While the chances of conception decrease with age, it is not consistent and varies from woman to woman. A woman less than 30 years of age has a 25% chance of natural conception every month and that reduces to 5% by 40 years. You can try natural conception, but it may take some time or not happen. So, it is best to consult a specialist after trying for a few months.

ART (Assisted Reproductive Techniques): There is a high success rate of getting pregnant with ART at advanced maternal age. Using ovarian stimulation, eggs are retrieved and fertilized in lab settings and then the embryo is transferred. If there are fewer quality quantity eggs, IVF with donor eggs is also an option.


1. Does advanced maternal age affect fertility?

Yes. As the woman’s age increases, the quality and quantity of eggs decrease, which affects fertility.

2. At what age is women's fertility highest?

Women’s fertility is highest in their early 20s and starts to decrease in their mid-30s.

3. Is it too old to get pregnant at 38?

It is possible to conceive naturally at 38 but keep in mind that fertility decreases with age. If natural conception fails, you can opt for ART, including IVF.

4. Can my 50-year-old girlfriend get pregnant?

A 50-year-old can get pregnant, but the chances are less as there is a decline in fertility. Consult a specialist to get her reproductive health assessed.