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Whether you're thinking of having kids today or becoming a parent in the future
Many are aware that fertility declines as you age
so when should you have kids,
and is there anything you can do to beat your biological clock?
A woman's first period is generally around age twelve or thirteen,
but most ovaries don't start releasing eggs until a few years after this
In fact, a woman's peak fertility
isn't actually until her early or mid twenties
Unlike males who are constantly producing new sperm
females have a finite number of eggs, but don't worry
By puberty you have around 300,000
way more than the 300 to 400 you will release in your lifetime
However popular statistics show that after trying to conceive for one year,
A thirty-year-old woman has a 25% chance
of not conceiving a life birth
This increases to a 44% chance at 35,
and 66% chance at 40 years old
But most of this data comes from a 2004 journal
looking at French birth records from 1670 to 1830
it's safe to say that a lot has changed
for the lives and health of women since before the age
of electricity, antibiotics, and reliable food supply.
It also does an account for the amount of sex
couples were having and the fact that sex drive tapers off as you age.
Modern studies present a more optimistic look
with the percentage of women unable to conceive
within a year of unprotected intercourse at 13% to 14%
for women aged 27 to 34
and 18% for women aged 35 to 39.
Still showing declining fertility but much better odds
than the historical data suggest. Another study found that among
38 and 39 year olds who have been pregnant before
80% were able to become pregnant naturally within
six months. And this points to another flaw in the studies
Nearly half of all pregnancies in America are
unintended. This means highly fertile women are more
likely to become pregnant accidentally when they're younger,
while those purposefully trying to have kids for the first time
in their late thirties are already disproportionately
less fertile regardless of age creating an overestimate
for the effect of biological aging.
However, older eggs may not fertilize normally and there is an increase
of chromosomal abnormalities with age. A woman who is
thirty has a 1 in 800 chance of having a baby with
Down Syndrome, but the probability goes up to 1 in 100
when she's forty. Granted, that's still only
a 1% chance. But what about men? Many assume
male fertility is limitless with some famous examples like
Charlie Chaplin having kids up until his seventies.
And while men do continually make new sperm, the more cell divides
the higher probability of genetic mutations.
By the time a man reaches 50, the cells that create his sperm
have gone through over 800 rounds of division and replication.
As a result, older fathers carry increased
risk of children with schizophrenia, autism, cancer
a form of dwarfism, neurofibromatosis, and even skull and
facial abnormalities. On top of this, even among young men
in the Western world, sperm counts have dropped over 50%
in the last 40 years
The impact and importance of this
is yet to be determined though
Of course, there's more to raising children than biology
anecdotal accounts points to younger parents having more energy, but
older parents having more maturity and financial stability.
Of course, more income does not mean better parents
but research has shown that higher family income is linked to higher
SAT scores. Not to mention in low to middle
income countries the risk of death per birth for women between
15 to 19 years old is 28% higher
than for women 20 to 24 years old. Studies have
also found that in some Sub-Saharan African countries
Up to 25% of girls and young women drop out of school
because of unintended pregnancies.
Preserving young female eggs by cryogenically freezing them
has also become more common but isn't a guarantee
with increasing age still affecting pregnancy success rates
and researchers finding that the freezing process degrades
the quality of the eggs. Additionally, this isn't a viable
option for most women, as the cost of freezing alone
is 10,000 dollars, and one round of in vitro fertilization
can cost upwards of 12,000 dollars.
Overall, yes, conceiving a baby becomes more difficult
as both men and women age, but it is not the level of
baby panic that is so often discussed in the media.
Individual fertility is very variable
based on genetics and lifestyle, and the best time to have kids
is a very personal decision as is having kids at all.
Special thanks to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for supporting this episode.
Even though the world is on an incredible path of progress,
it's important to remember that progress isn't inevitable.
That's why the Gates Foundation has created a Goalkeepers Report
which will help raise awareness, accountability, and drive action
for a better future.
Did you know that the number of mothers who die during childbirth
has been halved in the past generation?
The Gates Foundation wants to ensure continued healthy lives
and promote well-being for all ages.
Click the link in the description to read the report and see the progress being made.
And subscribe for more weekly science videos every Thursday!
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When Should You Have A Baby?

21418 Folder Collection
April Lu published on November 21, 2017    April Lu translated    林恩立 reviewed
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