You’re likely no stranger to this news: “Age is the most consistent gauge of a woman’s fertility,” says Styer. “If you’re younger, you have higher quality and quantity of eggs.” Think about it: You’re born with all of the eggs you’ll have and, over time, that number declines.
What doctors consider peak fertility varies, though. While Styer says it’s between ages 20 and 24, Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale University School of Medicine suggests it’s between ages 18 and 30. “Fertility significantly declines after 40 with some decline at about 35,” she says. “But I never discourage women about it—the only time I really kick butt and say, ‘OK, let’s go for it now!’ is in women over 40.”
After 40, docs worry about issues like a higher risk of chromosome abnormality, says Elizabeth Ginsburg, M.D., the medical director of assisted reproductive technologies at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.