You might be familiar with the term “woman’s biological clock,” but what does it actually entail and when does it become significant? It’s a different scenario for women, though, as opposed to men, who continue to generate sperm throughout their lives.
Let’s talk about biology now. You already have all the eggs you will ever have when you are born. In actuality, when you are still inside your mother’s uterus at around 20 weeks gestation, when you have roughly seven million eggs, that is when you have the most eggs. By the time you are born, there are only about two million left. You’ll have between 300,000 and 500,000 eggs left when you reach puberty and begin having periods. You will only have 1,000 to 2,000 eggs left when you reach menopause. Not only that, but everything you are exposed to during your life has an impact on your eggs as well, which might result in a drop in egg quality as you age.
But don’t worry, this decrease in your egg supply is completely normal and happens naturally, regardless of birth control, pregnancies, or even your health or lifestyle choices. Your most fertile years are usually from your 20s to your mid-30s. After the age of 35, your fertility rates start to decrease until you reach menopause. Once you hit menopause, which usually happens around the age of 50, it’s no longer possible to get pregnant naturally.
One egg grows and matures during the majority of your menstrual cycles, getting ready to be released from your ovary (called ovulation) in the event that it is fertilised. However, you need many eggs to begin the process before you can have one excellent mature egg. Hundreds of eggs begin together, but only one will ovulation, and the others will wither away. Your ovaries will produce roughly 500 mature eggs in your lifetime. Menopause occurs when your ovaries stop releasing oestrogen after you run out of eggs.
So keep in mind that a woman’s fertility declines as she ages because she has fewer eggs. If you want to have children in the future, it’s critical to comprehend this biological process and be aware of the ideal period to conceive.
Photo by Anthony Cunningham for Zoom Baby
This post first appeared in July 2023.