5 facts about women’s eggs and fertility
Maybe you have wondered: when is the best time in life to have a baby and when is it too late? And Is it possible to improve egg quality to have better chances of getting pregnant? In this blog post, we have gathered 5 facts about women’s eggs and fertility.
1. How many eggs does a woman have?
Women are born with around 1 to 2 million eggs, but when puberty hits the number of eggs is reduced to between 300,000 and 400,000. For women, the beginning of their fertile period is marked by ovulation and menstruation. Fertility refers to the period in which a woman can get pregnant and give birth.
2. How many eggs does a woman lose each month?
After a woman starts her menstrual cycle, one egg is ovulated and about 1,000 (immature) eggs are lost each month. The number of eggs a woman loses each month is not influenced by anything that can be controlled. While this can seem like a lot eggs to loose each month, don’t worry – this is exactly what the female body is designed to do.
3. Does the quality of the eggs decrease with age?
Women’s fertility and egg quality decrease with age. When a woman is in her 20s, she is in her best reproductive years. In the 30s the fertility declines gradually, and especially after the age of 35. It is important to note that the decline in fertility is linked to a normal age-related decrease in the number of eggs that remain in a woman’s ovaries.
About the egg quality, each month before ovulation the eggs begin to divide. With older eggs, the likelihood of errors happening during the division process increases. This can result in eggs containing an abnormal number of chromosomes. Therefore, the chances of having a baby with developmental abnormalities or downs syndrome increase with age. So, the strongest eggs are the ones that are ready to reach maturity when you are in your 20s. The lower quality eggs are the ones that are waiting patiently and remain as you get older.
4. How many eggs does a woman have at 40?
It is difficult to answer how many eggs a woman has left when she reaches the age of 40. The number of eggs left is different from woman to woman and it is affected by factors such as smoking. Generally, there is less than a 5% chance of getting pregnant per cycle by the age of 40. The low percentage means that some women need to use egg donation to fulfill their dream of a child. If you are curious about egg donation, we can recommend Katie's story about being egg donor-conceived.
Some women are born with more eggs and their fertile period may be longer than others. If you wonder about your own fertility, many fertility clinics offer to test this.
5. Can you improve egg quality?
One important factor for the egg quality is, as mentioned, your age. Women in their 20s have around the double amount of good quality eggs compared to women in their mid-30s. You cannot directly improve the egg quality and you cannot do much about getting older, but you can do certain things to improve your fertility. Factors such as not smoking, not drinking large amounts of alcohol daily and maintaining a healthy, stable weight can help to improve your fertility. You can read more about improving your fertility here.
Are you at that point in your life where you are ready to have a baby and have you considered using a sperm donor to have the dream of a baby come true? Read more about using a sperm donor here.