What does a fertility specialist have to do with care during the transition to menopause? Spoiler alert - it’s all about the eggs.

Dr. Ginevra Mills

March 16, 2023

Last night I participated in a round table presentation with WomenMD, a group of practitioners who focus on overall health and wellness for people who are approaching or experiencing the menopausal transition.  The purpose of the event was to have short, informative, and intimate conversations with community physicians on topics that can improve patient care. So, what does a fertility specialist have to do with care around the menopausal transition?  This is a good question.


There are many misconceptions around how a person’s age can affect their chances of getting pregnant.  One misconception is that as long as a person is having a period every month, they can get pregnant.  Although on the surface this is a true statement, it’s not so simple because the chances of getting pregnant every month really depend more on the age of the person. A person who is under the age of 30 will have a 20-25% chance of pregnancy every month, but that same person’s chance of pregnancy will decrease to only around 5% per month at the age of 40, and around 1% per month at the age of 45, even though they may still be having regular periods. 


The reason for this decrease in fertility is because the eggs (oocytes) in a person’s ovaries have been there since birth and they age in the same way other parts of our bodies age.  Unfortunately, this means that as people get older, the oocytes don’t function as well when they are released.  These age-related changes to the oocytes cannot be prevented, nor can they be reversed.

As a fertility specialist, I believe in educating people and their health care providers about these age-related fertility changes, because it can help people better understand their bodies, their options, and their expectations around pursuing pregnancy at older ages.

Graph showing Age and Reproduction in Women
Age Related Fertility Decline

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