The pregnancy clock: When is too late to have a baby - Tulsa Women's Health Care

TULSA - The Clock?

Just exactly what is the clock? Does it affect me? Should I be concerned? And what does it really mean? All of these are very good questions, and probably should be asked whether you are thinking about having a baby now or in the future.

The "clock", of course, refers to a woman's remaining ability to achieve pregnancy.

From a physiologic standpoint, the "clock" actually starts ticking while a woman is an embryo in her mother's uterus so that at birth there are approximately 2 million potential babies/eggs present. They disappear quickly and at puberty the number has already decreased to 400,000. This is the number of potential babies a woman has and will last her until menopause at an average age of 51.

Sounds fine and dandy. The problem is that there are variations on all of the above numbers – initial number of eggs, number of years until menopause and most importantly, the number of reproductive years.

The second and third questions obviously are individualized questions.

The good news is the clock's age, or ovarian reserve, is fairly easy to evaluate, often is covered by insurance and the testing is performed at Tulsa Women's Healthcare.

It most frequently involves ultrasound and lab works which are performed at specific times of your cycle. This can help you determine if in fact you have a brand new wristwatch on your arm or a grandmother's clock in the attic. We will never tell you to "have a baby now", but with the information, the questions of if, when and timing can be answered. There is nothing more frustrating than discovering the clock has ticked its last tock when a woman is not ready.

What does it mean?

The ability to determine ovarian reserve also entitles a woman to direct her reproductive health. If normal values are found, management of fertility issues may involve extending the at-home attempts!

If testing finds ovarian reserve to be low and it is time to have a baby, then ovulation induction or IVF, may be necessary to create a family.

Finally, if ovarian reserve is low and it is not time to have a baby, then cryopreservation, which is becoming more mainstream with improved techniques, may be the way to go.

The KEY is you now have a choice to evaluate or not. Unfortunately, there is not a way yet to prevent the grandmother clock from occurring, BUT as a woman, you now have the ability to take control.

Source: Tulsa Women's Health Care . TWHC is a sponsor of

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