Fix my “older” eggs before pregnancy?

Q: I’m 35.  What can I do to fix my “older” eggs?

A: There is little to be done to make our eggs act “younger” than our actual age, but there are lifestyle choices that can impact our eggs’ ability to function properly, such as smoking. In general, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes a normal weight, not smoking and minimal alcohol intake will help keep your chances of conceiving appropriate for your age. However, despite being healthy, some women’s eggs may still not be functioning as well as expected for their age. There are certain tests that can help assess ovarian reserve, including a day 3 FSH level, anti-mullerian hormone level (AMH), and an antral follicle count. These tests are not completely predictive of ovarian reserve (i.e. some women may have good results but still have poor quality eggs), but can be valuable in guiding decisions whether to pursue fertility treatments. Ultimately, if a woman over age 35 has been trying to conceive for 6 months without success, she should seek an evaluation to help determine why she has not gotten pregnant. Fertility treatments may be warranted at that time.

Dr. Elizabeth Barbieri, Board certified specialist in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Oregon Reproductive Medicine.

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