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Thinking of Postponing Conception After 40? Think Again: Yale

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More women are putting off conceiving, bowing to the rising demands of their jobs and the pressures of city-living, looking to secure a financially stable future or even the right partner. As they do so, they are being warned by the scientific community not to play dice for too long if they wish to conceive at all.

Researchers at Yale Fertility Center are of the opinion that the obvious stresses of daily life, along with the media hype on assisted reproductive technology (ART), is misleading women from the hard truths.

More medical techniques and facilities now make possible a successful conception. But conceiving a healthy baby and keeping it full-term before delivery involves the same odds as it did a decade ago because of the sub-optimal function of the aging ovaries which cannot be reversed. (1)

According to Dr. Pasquale Patrizio, professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Yale School of Medicine and director of the Yale Fertility Center, “There is an alarming misconception about fertility among women. We also found a lack of knowledge about steps women can take early in their reproductive years to preserve the possibility of conception later in life. We are really seeing more and more patients 'upset' after failing in having their own biological child after age 43 so we had to report on this. Their typical reaction is, 'what do you mean you cannot help me? I am healthy, I exercise, and I cannot have my own baby?’” (2)

Misconceptions on female fertility needs to be addressed by educating women correctly across cultures on the obstetric risks of delayed pregnancies. These risks are especially high for those beyond 40 years of age.

It is a fact that fertility can be extended through advanced medical technology, yet it cannot aid women beyond a certain point. Both real life pressures as well as the glamorized late pregnancies of celebrities flashed by media, may lead a sizeable percentage of women to believe that female fertility can be manipulated at any stage of life pre-menopause.

As per the data given by the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies, U.S there was a 9 percent increase in the in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles run for women under 35 years of age, and a 41 percent increase in the age of 41 years and older in the period 2003-2009.

The Society also warned that the possibility of a miscarriage in the assisted reproductive techniques exists to the extent of 15 percent in women under 35 years and increases sharply to 25 percent at age 40 years, escalating to 35 percent for those above 42 years of age. (3)

Dr. Patrizio suggested that oocyte or egg "freezing", medically known as oocyte cryopreservation, is the most recommended methodology a woman without a partner or one focusing on a career can opt for.

This way, the quality of the egg released from her younger self can be preserved until she is ready to conceive a baby of her own genetic material. Another method such as egg donation is also advised by him as the technique boasts of the highest pregnancy rates reported for any ART method.

As per Dr. Patrizio, “There is an urgent need to educate women that reproductive aging is irreversible and, more importantly that there are options to safeguard against the risk of future infertility. These techniques are valid options for women and should not be viewed as experimental. Doctors and health professionals must begin the discussion about fertility preservation in their patients and make certain that young women truly understand all their options.”


1. Women Cannot Rewind the 'Biological Clock'; Science Daily News; April 2012; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120405224703.htm

2. Women Can’t Rewind the ‘Biological Clock’; MD Health Guide; April 2012; http://www.mdhealthguide.com/2012/04/women-cant-rewind-the-biological-clock

3. Assisted Reproductive Technologies – A Patient Guide (Rev. 2011), Page 17; American Society For Reproductive Medicine; April 2012; http://www.sart.org/uploadedFiles/ASRM_Content/Resources/Patient_Resources/Fact_Sheets_and_Info_Booklets/ART.pdf

Summary of technical report may be accessed at:

1. A persistent misperception: assisted reproductive technology can reverse the “aged biological clock”; Science Direct - Elsevier; April 2012; http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0015028212002294

Detailed report from Yale at:
2. A persistent misperception: assisted reproductive technology can reverse the ‘‘aged biological clock’’; Yale Education - Article in Press; April 2012; http://www.yale.edu/bioethics/contribute_documents/Patrizio%20Article.pdf


Mamta Singh is a published author of the books Migraines for the Informed Woman – Tips From A Sufferer: ISBN: 978-81-291-1517-1 (Publisher: Rupa & Co. URL: http://www.amazon.com/Migraines-Informed-Woman-Tips-Sufferer/dp/8129115174/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1298990756&sr=1-2), Mentor Your Mind – Tested Mantras For The Busy Woman: ISBN: 978-81-207-5973-2 (Publisher: Sterling Publishers; URL: http://www.amazon.com/Mentor-Your-Mind-Tested-Mantras/dp/8120759737/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1316063179&sr=8-1) and the upcoming Women’s Complete Fitness Guide (Publisher: Hay House India).

She is also a seasoned business, creative and academic writer. She is a certified fitness instructor, personal trainer & sports nutritionist through IFA, Florida USA. Mamta is an NCFE-certified Holistic Health Therapist SAC Dip U.K. She is the lead writer and holds Expert Author status in many well-received health, fitness and nutrition sites. She runs her own popular blogs on migraines in women and holistic health.

Mamta holds a double Master's Degree in Commerce and Business. She is a registered practitioner with the UN recognised Art of Living Foundation. Please visit www.mamtasingh.com

Reviewed May 1, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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