Fertility Guide Based On Age: 20s, 30s, & 40s

When women make the decision to get pregnant, it is a personal one. Whether they are ready in their twenties to begin their family or if the right time comes after turning forty, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to the age to have a baby. While being younger does have its advantages when it comes to fertility, it can be more difficult to raise babies given that careers have not been established. Conversely, careers are well established by forty, but it may be more difficult to conceive. That is why knowing the options available during each decade women are most likely to get pregnant is important to know, so that there are not any surprises regarding fertility during the twenties, thirties, or forties.


For some women, it does not matter what age they are. They are able to get pregnant without any issues. Others may find that even if they want to start a family when they are at their most fertile age, there are struggles. This is because every woman is different when it comes to their healthy eggs and the number of eggs available to be fertilized.

As such, knowing the status of fertility is a good thing to find out at a younger age so that when the time comes to conceive, a plan has been put into place if assistance is necessary. Otherwise, partners know they are reproductively healthy and can move forward as planned and conceive when they are ready to expand their family.

RELATED: How Depression Can Harm Your Fertility & Pregnancy

Here is a guide to fertility based on your age: twenties, thirties, and forties.

Getting Pregnant In Your Twenties

Women in their twenties have the best possible chances of getting pregnant. This is because they are not only at the peak of health but are the most fertile as well. The combination of the two makes for the best possible scenario when it comes to getting pregnant in the shortest time possible.

Ease of conception

According to BabyCenterwomen in their twenties have a 33 percent chance of getting pregnant if they have sex in the days leading up to conception. Of this population, only a very “small percentage” struggle with fertility. And because of this, picking a time during the twenties to start a family is the easiest to do, knowing that for most, there will be no struggles with conception.

Chances of miscarriage

While any pregnancy faces the risk of miscarriage, women in their twenties have the lowest risk of all. According to Science Dailywomen in their twenties have a 10 percent chance of miscarriage. A percentage that is much lower than any other age group attempting to get pregnant.

Physical fitness

When it comes to being physically fit, many in their twenties are physically healthier than those in their thirties and forties. As such, according to HealthShotsthere is less of a risk of this population dealing with things like diabetes, high blood pressure, fibroids, and endometriosis.

Financial health

When it comes to having high-paying jobs that allow twenty-somethings to save money, that is not something that is the norm for this age group. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journalmost of those aged 18 to 24 did not have checking accounts. And of those who did, 44 percent had zero money in their checking accounts.

As such, the twenties are the hardest time financially to become parents.


When it comes to complications, pregnant women in their twenties are considered to be low-risk. The one exception to that, according to Parents is preeclampsia. This is because preeclampsia is related to first pregnancies. And because those in their twenties who are pregnant are experiencing their first pregnancy, they may have more women than those in their thirties and forties that suffer from preeclampsia.

Discussions about fertility

Even if women are not planning on starting a family in their twenties, speaking to doctors about egg health is recommended. But according to The Sydney Morning Herald, this is something that simply is not happening.

Many women at this age, as well as their doctors, do not think about egg health and infertility because infertility is not a big problem for women in their twenties. Instead, it is a conversation saved for when women are older. But if women’s egg health was looked at via a blood test at this age, they would know if there was anything amiss. And the Sooner that women know of any problems, the earlier they can make decisions that impact their ability to become mothers.

Getting Pregnant In Your Thirties

As women enter their thirties, the number of viable eggs that they have decreases. They are also at risk for more complications than would have been faced in their twenties. But with potentially being physically and financially healthier, the thirties are a great time to have a baby.

Ease of conception

When women reach their thirties, their chances of getting pregnant drop to 15 percent per ovulation cycleaccording to BabyCenter.

The age that women are in their thirties matters as well. This is because, per the publication, the chances of conceiving within one year in the early thirties is 75 percent. As women get Closer to their forties, that number drops to 65 percent.

Chances of miscarriage: The thirties are a time when fertility is in flux. As such, the age women are in their thirties makes a difference in their chances of miscarriage.

According to the Advanced Fertility Center of Chicagothe chances of miscarriage for women in their thirties include:

  • Ages 30 to 34: 12 percent
  • Ages 35 to 37: 16 percent
  • Ages 38 to 39: 22 percent

Miscarriage can happen to any woman during pregnancy no matter their age or how healthy they are. But, as women age, the chances of it occurring increase rapidly the older they are.

Physical fitness

While women may be getting physically older, that does not mean that their physical fitness has to go down in their thirties. In fact, if they work at it, women’s fitness may be increased from when they were in their twenties.

According to MedBroadcast, it is possible for women to keep their fitness levels up if they are willing to work out with regularity during their thirties. Not only will this keep them healthier overall, but working out will contribute to getting pregnant faster as well.

Financial health

Many women in their thirties have begun to put money away for retirement. This is because they are more established in their careers. And considering that women do not top out in pay in their careers until approximately 39 years old, according to Insider A significant amount of money is still available to be made.

At this age, things like student aid are close to or are paid off, per the publication, and money is available to start a 529 account for college for kidssomething that younger individuals may not be able to do.


While it is becoming more common for women in their thirties to have babies, these women have to face more complications than those in their twenties.

According to the University of Rochester Medical Centercomplications women in their thirties face include:

  • Birth defects
  • High blood pressure
  • Gestational diabetes
  • More difficult labor
  • Chromosomal problems

At the age of 35according to the Mayo Clinicwomen are at a higher risk of having babies with Down syndrome. It is either the mother or father who can pass on the gene for Down syndrome to their babies.

After the age of 35, it is recommended for women to take genetic tests to determine if any chromosomal issues exist so that preparations can be made to care for those with Down syndrome or other conditions attributed to changes in chromosomes.

Discussions about fertility

If women in their thirties are interested in having babies, they should discuss those plans with their doctors, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. This will help them to determine if they want to freeze their eggs if they are in their early thirties or let them know what risks they face as they reach the age of 35 years old and beyond.

Women will also be privy to earlier interventions if they are unable to get pregnant on their own, per the publication. This happens After six months of inability to get pregnant, at which time, a conversation will be recommended with a fertility specialist to determine which steps should be taken.

Getting Pregnant In Your Forties

More women than ever before are choosing to have babies in their forties. And while there are more complications that are faced, that does not mean that women cannot have healthy and happy babies at this age.

Ease of conception

Two-thirds of women will be unable to have babies on their own after they reach the age of forty, according to WebMD. This is because the number of eggs that are healthy and viable for pregnancy has rapidly declined. This leaves a good portion of eggs with chromosomal problems that in many cases will not make it to term.

Chances of miscarriage

According to the Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago, once women reach their forties, the rates of miscarriage increase. Those rates, per the publication, include:

  • Ages 40 to 41: 33 percent
  • Ages 42 to 43: 45 percent
  • Ages 44 to 46: 60 percent

Does this mean that carrying a baby to term is impossible? No. But it is much harder in the forties than at any other time attempting to get pregnant during the twenties and thirties.

Physical fitness

Staying physically fit is key to having the healthiest pregnancy possible in the forties. This is because, according to VeryWell Healthpregnancy may be the Most “physically taxing” during this decade in comparison to the twenties and thirties.

As such, by maintaining or starting a physical fitness routine, women will be at optimal health when it comes to conception in their forties.

Financial health

According to Forbes, once people enter their forties they are “closing in on retirement.” This means that things like student debt are likely paid off, decent money is being made, and a certain lifestyle is being lived, per the publication.

This all makes taking care of a baby much easier financially than it would have been in the twenties or thirties. Meaning that things like paying for childcare and starting college funds are done without blinking an eye.


As women enter their forties, their complications during pregnancy increase. According to MedicalNewsToday, those complications include:

  • Endometriosis
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Fallopian tube disorders
  • High blood pressure
  • Preeclampsia
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Birth abnormalities and genetic conditions increase
  • Babies born with low birth weight
  • Babies born with a low Apgar score

Women in their early forties have a one in 100 chance of having babies with Down syndromeper the publication. By the age of 45, that number increases to one in 30.

While these complications exist, it is still possible to have healthy babies. It just may take more time for a successful conception to occur.

Discussions about fertility

According to MBG Relationships, women in their forties have a “ticking clock.” This is because the Number of healthy eggs has significantly declined during this decade. As such, where women in their thirties may be given a year to try to conceive, once women reach their forties, it is recommended they Speak with a fertility specialist if not able to get pregnant within several months.

IVF treatments may be difficult as well. Per the publication, because of the age of the eggs, there may be few viable ones to choose from. This is why if women know they will not want a baby until they reach their forties, discussions should be had well before this time to freeze eggs to give the best possible chances of realizing this dream at a later date.

Source: BabyCenter, Science Daily, HealthShots, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Parents, The Sydney Morning Herald, BabyCenter, Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago, MedBroadcast, Insider, University of Rochester Medical Center, Mayo Clinic, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists , MBG Relationships, WebMD, VeryWell Health, Forbes

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