When you’re in your twenties, your relationship to your fertility can be…well, complicated. You might have a clear idea of how many children you want, and when you want to have them. Or you could be certain that you don’t want kids at all, or you could have literally no idea how you feel about it, and not much interest in thinking about it quite yet. All of these options are, of course, totally fine and completely natural- but even if you aren’t ready to even entertain the notion of becoming pregnant, there are still a few things for you to know about fertility while you’re in your twenties, because this information could affect how you view your fertility and the idea of getting pregnant in the future.
Fertility is one of the most personal topics on the planet, and since every woman is different, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for how you should approach your ability and decision to get pregnant, should the time come. In an exclusive interview with Elite Daily, Brian Levine, M.D. the founding partner and practice director of CCRM New York, a leading national reproductive center, talked about what women in their twenties need to know about fertility.
The first thing you should know about your fertility is that it is a continuum.
This means that it declines at a different rate for every woman, so just because you and your best friend are both twenty-five years old, doesn’t mean you would both face the same likelihood of getting pregnant.
This is why Halsey’s recent decision to go public with freezing her own eggs(due to her battle with endometriosis) is so important: “For some women, the quality of their eggs decline as early as their 20s,” Levine explains. “In fact, women are born with millions of eggs but the number of eggs decreases progressively from birth (1-2 million), to puberty (500,000), and then menopause (1,000).”
Before you freak out about that number (only 1,000?!), it’s important to remember that you only need one egg to be fertilized, and that your number of eggs is (like Levine said above) totally unique to you. Some people are extremely fertile well into their thirties- the point is that the best thing you can do is empower yourself to have all of the information, like Halsey.
Although Levine is quick to note that there’s no clinical proof that birth control affects your fertility in any way, that doesn’t mean your fertility is totally unaffected by your choices.
In fact, the lifestyle choices you make in your twenties could heavily affect your fertility in your thirties, Levine warns: “Avoiding foods like white rice and white sugar which cause inflammation, as well as limiting toxic habits like too much alcohol will all positively impact a woman’s fertility down the road.”
In many cases, Levine notes, your fertility can be a barometer for your overall health.
Of course, that’s not the case for the millions of women who suffer from endometriosis or other similar diseases that affect fertility. But in terms of your nutrition, smoking and drinking frequency, there’s a connection.
“When it comes to protecting your fertility,” Levine suggests, “avoiding and eliminating toxic habits early-on can have lasting benefits.”
No one’s saying you have to totally revamp your entire lifestyle for the next ten years- this advice is simply like all other health related advice: as you get older, the choices you make about how you treat your body become increasingly important, and each new decade is not a clean slate, but rather an accumulation of your years.
If you want to take steps towards better understanding and protecting your fertility, there are two essential steps to take: contact a reproductive center like CCRM to find out what your fertility levels are, and take a long, hard look at what your health is currently like. Levine suggests comparing it to pregnancy, since people who are trying to get pregnant eliminate all toxins from their lives.
Your fertility can be an incredibly empowering aspect of your health, and the more information you have about it, the better equipped you’ll be to make decisions in the future.