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Is conception hard at 30?
Q: I'm a healthy, 28 year-old woman who has been married for two years. My family is saying that I need to have a baby before 30 or it will be difficult to conceive or the kid might not be healthy. Is it true? I would like to postpone it for another two years. Is that OK?
A: There's often tension between the ideal age for pregnancy in terms of fertility, and the ideal age in terms of being emotionally or financially ready to have a baby. Our fertility slowly declines as we age, and the chances of miscarriage increase. Most experts believe that at your age, postponing conception for two years will not result in a sizeable drop in your fertility. For most women, fertility remains very good at age 30. On the other hand, fertility tends to decrease substantially as women approach their late 30s.

The chances of miscarriage and pregnancies with chromosomal problems increase as we get older. Again, at your age, I'm not sure that a delay of two years will substantially change your odds. However, the chances of difficulties are higher for women over 35, and are quite substantial in women over 40. One thing you might include in your decision-making is the family size you desire. If you plan to have more than one child, you may wish to project how old you might be for your last rather than your first pregnancy.

Laura E. Stachel M.D. Obstetrician & Gynecologist