Age and fertility are a very close correlation.
In my infancy
years as an egg donor agent, I learnt that the first questions a
fertility clinic asked is how old the female patient is. Usually post
38, donor eggs are recommended.
Unfortunately for woman,
fertility deteriorates with age quicker than for men. Although woman
may still have a ovarian reserve from 38, the quality of these eggs will
start to diminish. These causes are life, hormones in food, stress,
pollution, exposure to disease, radiation, autoimmune disease, other
medical reasons and of course unknown factors. Older eggs are also at a
higher risk of chromosomal deformities. So whilst woman in advanced
years may elect to try conception with their own eggs if they are still
ovulating, they are in a higher risk category and are commonly
encouraged to consider donor eggs.
According to the Society for
South African Society for Reproductive Medicine (SASREG), there is a
medical cut off of 34 for egg donors. Woman may remain very fertile
after these years, but cannot be accepted as egg donors. The IVF
process with a third party costs alot - financially and emotionally.
All efforts need to be made to give recipients the very best chance of
conception and thus the medical criteria about age. Having said that, a
21 year old is not necessarily more fertile than the 34 year old, but
this the medically accepted age group for woman to sign up as egg
donors, between 21 and 34. Applications are also received between the
ages 18 - 21.