are you older than 35?
natural solutions for infertility and miscarriage
35-'ish' - a time of change
From about age 35, fertility starts to decline. The change progresses year by year so if you have a choice, you should try to conceive before 35. Since the average age of women having babies in NZ is over 30 years, many women are trying to conceive after 35. Our e-book "Starting your family after 35" gives you the current facts on what can go wrong and the possible solutions.
Not only is it more difficult to conceive from 35 onwards but the rate of miscarriage also increases dramatically. By age 40, the rate of miscarriage is very high and many women cannot conceive after 40. Associated with this increased risk of miscarriage is also an ever-increasing risk of having a child with Down's syndrome (trisomy 21) or Klinefelter's syndrome (47,XXY).
Here is an email received 29th December 2008 from a colleague aged 37 in early 2007 who was booked in for IVF when she contacted me. After some quite simple lifestyle changes, Sally conceived Sacha.
Saw you briefly on TV tonight and it prompted me to realise I hadn't contacted you since Sacha was born! He's doing so well at nine months and I want to thank you for your pre-natal/ pre-conception advice ..........
What happens to our bodies in our late 30's and early 40's
We know from population studies of miscarriages and the births of children with Down's syndrome that the eggs of older women make mistakes in critical cell division. These errors in the division process result in the embryo having a high risk of carrying an extra chromosome. Since almost all changes in chromosomes cause serious developmental problems - this is the immediate cause of the poor reproductive outcome.
Underlying the problems in cell division are changes occurring in the eggs (oocytes) themselves. There are many age-related changes in the complex substructure of the cells but the most important of these is probably age-related damage to mitochondria. Mitochondria are small organelles within each cell that are the energy powerhouses of cells and are especially important in ovulation and cell division. It is likely that the changes in mitochondria reflect a series of other changes in metabolism and one of these seems to be changes in fat metabolism.
Can anything help restore fertility and reduce miscarriage in older women?
This question cannot be answered with any degree of certainty at this stage. There seems to be little doubt that optimising all relevant aspects of diet and lifestyle helps reduce the problem and it would seem likely that taking steps to optimise the health and function of mitochondria is likely to be beneficial. In my own study of 600 couples who were planning a pregnancy, we found that eating dairy foods was associated with better outcomes in older women. Balancing fat intake - not avoiding all fat - is critical.
Assisted fertility programs like IVF cannot help older women except through ovum donation. The outcomes of IVF techniques are described in the e-book "Starting your family after 35". The e-book also outlines all that is currently known about lifestyle changes that can reduce the effects of maternal and paternal ageing.
Our services for women over 35
Dr Judy Ford is currently researching in this area and her personal advice takes account of all the latest research in this area.
As well as Starting your family after 35, the ez-fertility on-line lifestyle evaluation is particularly helpful for women aged 35 and older. This gives specific guidance on the changes that are necessary to optimise lifestyle and the age-specific fertility enhancing nutrients are outlined in the e-book.
Adelaide, South Australia, Phone (international: +618 8244 7551 - Australian central time)
Our other sites of interest:
Whole of Life Drug-free Preventative Health:
Information, Services & Products
The Lifestyle Doctor: Free health information and hub of healthy products and services
Ez-fertility Evaluation: A comprehensive Evaluation and Personal Report for couples who are planning pregnancy and wish to avoid problems
Site updated January 2009