New clinical practice guidelines from the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada recommend that all doctors should regularly remind women in of their biological clock, starting in their early twenties.
Many women are surprised to know that their chances of getting pregnant naturally or even with the assistance of reproductive technologies are significantly lower in their late 30’s and 40’s.
For young women, reproductive counseling often focuses on ways to not get pregnant, but it is important to proactively understand the importance of family planning.
Dr. Kimberly Liu of Mount Sinai Fertility in Toronto, who co-authored the updated guidelines reports;
“Women often tell me, ‘I’m really healthy, I exercise, I eat really well,’ and so it’s sometimes surprising to them that those factors, unfortunately, are not necessarily protective when it comes to their ovarian aging.”
The biological clock also ticks for men. Men can suffer from age-related declines in sperm function and fertility. Numerous studies have found that the increase in paternal age can increase the risk of miscarriages and other psychological and developmental conditions in the unborn baby like autism disorders and schizophrenia.
Although reproductive technologies such as IVF can help some couples conceive, there is no guarantee of success. So, if you can, pay attention to your biological clock as you are preparing to conceive.