October 30, 2014
Lots of women are now choosing to put off children until later in life, but doctors say fertility does start to decline in your 30s. So how long can you wait?
A test being offered at the Colorado Center For Reproductive Medicine could tell you just how much time you have left on your fertility clock. The Fertility Assessment Program offers women under 40 years of age valuable information about their fertility health.
Our producer, Annalisa Blanco, went through the whole process. The 32-year-old is focused on her career right now, and she and her husband would like to put off having kids if they can. “I would say my career is probably my top priority right now,” Annalisa said. But how long can she wait? A $700 test, now being offered at the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine could tell her. Dr William Schoolcraft says, “We can generally say based on where the eggs are today, will they likely remain viable or fertile for 1 or 2 years, for 5 years, or ten years, and give the patient some tools to plan their life.” The process was pretty simple. Annalisa got a detailed ultrasound of her ovaries, and then blood tests that checked two hormone levels.
The Fertility Assessment testing includes:
- New Patient Physician Consult
- 3D Baseline Ultrasound – Evaluation of the uterus and the number of eggs stimulated during a menstrual cycle
- Day 3 Hormones including FSH, LH and Estradiol testing – Assessment of the quality of eggs
- Anti-Mullerian Hormome (AMH) – Assessment of the quantity of eggs Regroup – Appointment with a physician to review test results
For more information check out Colorado Center For Reproductive Medicine.
Annalisa says she was pretty nervous wondering what the test would show about the quality of her eggs and how long she can put off having kids. “If I have to change my course because of this test I will, and I will take it very seriously,” she said.
Doctors say Annalisa’s situation is pretty common, and they are glad to offer information. These tests are already available, as part of a larger assessment, to couples who are having trouble getting pregnant, but now the clinic is offering them to women who are still in the planning phases. “It’s critical to know if I plan my family for age 35 or 38, am I still going to be able to conceive at that age,” said Dr. Schoolcraft. If women find out they don’t have that much time, they can either speed up their plans for having a baby, or chose to freeze their eggs or embryos, which is controversial.
So what about Annalisa? After an anxious few days, she gets some good news. Dr Schoolcraft says she doesn’t need to rush. “ I would say at 32 you are good for the next 3 or 4 years. Pretty safely, you could wait until you are 35 or 36 without too much risk,” he said. The news is quite a relief. “I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulder a little bit,” she said. Armed with information, she will now focus on her career and her first few years of marriage.
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