Jan 29, 2010  •  In Personal, Science

T-Minus 12% Eggs

Did anyone else see this earlier this week?

Women Lose 90 Per Cent of ‘Eggs’ by 30

I know that plenty of women have healthy babies in their 30s, 40s, and even 50s. However, I can’t help but notice that within my social circle, the rate of conception and trouble-free pregnancies are highest among the 20-27 crowd.

My friends who are having trouble conceiving, or have suffered miscarriages, are all over 28.

I am not saying that everyone should get crackin’ and start trying for a baby NOW because time is a-tickin’. However, we, as humans, have only recently started to have children at later ages. Are our bodies “optimized” to have kids in our teens and early 20s? If women have the choice to have a baby earlier (and are physically, emotionally, and financially ready), should we take it?

Just something to think about this cold Friday morning.

11 Responses to “T-Minus 12% Eggs”

  1. Well this worries me…I’m 25 and no where NEAR ready to TTC. However, I might get lucky. Mom had baby #4 at 35.

  2. Vee:

    It’s such a hard decision to make, when you’re really thinking about it though, isn’t it? I mean, especially if said woman is trying to graduate college or juggle a career… As much of a feminist as I’d like to think I am, I can totally see why gender roles exist. ::sigh:: I’m with pp, I’m 26 and I don’t feel like I’m anywhere near ready. But my fiance is 32 and wants one yesterday. We haven’t even agreed on when to start trying yet, but already I’m overwhelmed by all the what-ifs and surveys-say. Why does Real Life have to be so frustrating and unknown???

  3. Yeah, reading these kinds of articles makes me feel even more pressure to make up my mind already about what to do procreation-wise. I’m 28 and while I feel like I’m almost ready, there are just so many logistics that don’t work out (like, my husband has a job where he travels 4 days/week… not what I want when we have kids).

    I do think it’s notable that there is a lot of variability in how many eggs are in each woman’s reserve. Being a nerd, I looked up the actual publication (PLoS One publishes all articles for free access to the public). This figure shows the mean with 95% confidence intervals (note that the y axis is plotted on a log scale ~ even wider range than it looks). So according to their model’s predictions, 95% of women will have between 1900 and 135,000 eggs left by age 35, with an average of 16,000 in reserve (click through to Figure 4 to see these values labeled).

    This huge variability would explain why many women do in fact conceive after 35… but without getting an ultrasound or something, there is no way to know how many eggs you have left yourself. It is something that’s important to be aware of though… thanks for sharing.

  4. birdie:

    i hate when all the pressure of conceiving falls on the women. i may be ready to TTC because of my age, but the hubs isn’t anywhere near ready, emotionally. he doesn’t want to give up the care-free life style yet, until around 30! if you find anything that convinces men to have babies, let me know.

  5. wow I never knew that… kind of distrubing

  6. Jess:

    I am 32 and have been married for 1.5 years. I can’t imagine TTC prior to when we did. Too rushed. Unfortunately we’ve had no luck over the 12 months we’ve been trying and are now going through IUI. I am just grateful for the opportunity to use advances in fertility treatment and that we are in a place in our lives that we can easily afford it.

  7. I got married at 31 and we weren’t ready to TTC until I was 33 (my husband was 36). It took us a year of trying…I was about to call the doctor when it happened. Yeah these statistics are really discouraging when you’ve been trying for a while. For us, we couldn’t help how old we were…that’s when we got married and that’s what we were ready. Anyways, what helped for me was the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility, which helped me time things perfectly. Wishing you all the best.

  8. La la la la…that is me covering my ears, not wanting to know that statistic!! I have thought about the fact that I knew I wanted to marry my husband since I was 22. Had we gotten married, we might have had a baby much earlier. But then again, I wouldn’t have completed my graduate degree and experienced all that I did in my mid-20’s. Not that baby and graduate degree can be compared, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that, I am content with the decisions I made. Things happen for a reason. Although that statistic is disturbing, to say the least!

  9. busylizzy:

    Makes me depressed. I had a conversation with a doctor last week about exactly the same topic and he showed me some graphs.

  10. The drop off from 25 to 30 isn’t that steep. You could rephrase that headline to say, "At age 25, women left with only 20% of her eggs."

    I’ve been very skeptical of the British press and these "scare" pieces ever since I came across this essay:

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-scientific-fundamentalist/201001/british-newspapers-make-things

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