5 signs your biological clock is ticking faster than you think
Aging is an inevitable factor of life, and when ‘considering the alternative’, is a great privilege! When it comes to fertility, however, aging and its’ twin sister, the biological clock, can be a problem.
One in six couples will have difficulty conceiving, and many of these issues can be related to the process of ovarian aging and its’ effects on the female reproductive system (yes, it’s unfair, but men are not ‘created equal’ in this area).
Over the past decade, scientific evidence has demonstrated that a woman’s biological clock ticks faster than previously thought. While many women assumed they could easily conceive well into their 40’s, we now know that fertility rates drop precipitously much earlier than that.
Not sure what ‘time’ your biological clock is reading? Consider some of the following clues.
- Your menstrual cycle has changed. It can be a sign that you have a smaller supply of eggs and getting closer to menopause faster than your age-matched peers. If your menstrual cycles have become shorter – 25-26 days instead of 28-30, or you are missing periods every now and then, it might be a red flag.
- You aren’t “really trying” to get pregnant, but you haven’t used contraception for the past 6-12 months…and you’re not pregnant. Infertility is defined as the inability to get pregnant after 6-12 months of unprotected sex.
- Your mother went through menopause early (under the age of 50) and your older sister is having troubles conceiving. Some genes that control ovarian reserve can be defective and lead to early menopause and difficulty conceiving. Your mother and sisters’ reproductive history is a good signal of your own.
- You are older than 35. Yes, you look like you are 22, eat healthy, exercise and you are in great shape…but there is no exercise for the ovaries. The ovaries are only programed to release healthy eggs until a certain age, and age is the single most important factor for women when reproductive function is concerned.
- You got pregnant several times, but had miscarriages in the first trimester. Over time, there is usually a transition from having an ideal reproductive potential and getting pregnant very easily, to taking a longer time getting pregnant with a greater likelihood of losses in the first trimester.
If you meet any or all of these criteria, don’t panic! In many cases, you can still achieve the family of your dreams. But, a call or a visit to a reproductive endocrinologist is likely in order to help determine where you stand and what you can do.
About the Author
Dr. Elena Trukhacheva, MSCI, is one of the field’s devoted female reproductive endocrinologists, who demonstrates a unique rapport and understanding of her patients. As a woman and a mother, she takes pride in providing comprehensive care and strives to bring hope and support to her patients. Dr. Trukhacheva is Board Certified in the specialty of obstetrics and gynecology and in the sub-specialty of reproductive endocrinology and infertility. She is a part of the Reproductive Medicine Institute Chicago: www.teamrmi.com.