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Things You Should Know About Fertility In Your Twenties


For some women, the prospect of starting a family in their twenties can seem unrealistic and daunting. For others, the time may be right to have a baby.

Whatever the personal circumstances, the topic of fertility can be confusing and overwhelming however, it is so important for all women to understand their ‘fertility timeline’ and recognise how the chances of falling pregnant change as they get older.

Here to shed some light on the often unclear topic of fertility in your twenties is Dr Álex García-Faura Assisted Reproduction Expert from internationally leading fertility clinic, Institut Marques, who has provided his expert insight on the top 20 things every women must know:

Know your biological clock

“If you are in your twenties and not planning to start a family in the near future, then fertility probably isn’t something you think about very often. In fact, maybe it isn’t something you have thought about since sex education classes at school. The term ‘biological clock’ is often used when discussing female fertility, but the meaning of the term can be confusing. Essentially, your fertility starts to decline when you are in your early thirties. At the age of 35, the rate of decline starts to accelerate even more. So, although having children in your 20s is not right for everyone, it’s also important not to be blasé about fertility and falling pregnant later on in life.”

It’s okay to have a baby in your twenties

“In today’s society, there is a lot of conversation around women delaying motherhood until later in life – due to lifestyle and career factors. However, it’s important to highlight that every woman is different, and there is no ‘right’ time to have a baby. What is important, is to be aware of your fertility so you can make a personal informed decision when it comes to starting a family. It’s ok to have a baby in your twenties if that is the right decision for you, and you are both physically and mentally prepared to become a mother.”

Don’t panic

“Despite the fact that your twenties are your most fertile years, it does not mean that having children later than 29 is an impossibility, by any means. Today, women are choosing to delay motherhood for a variety of reasons, perhaps due to career advancements or simply not having found the right partner yet. Whatever the reason for not having children until a little later in life, it is still absolutely possible to conceive in your thirties, either naturally or with the help of a fertility specialist.”

Know your cycle

“Tracking your menstrual cycle means you can figure out when your ‘fertile window’ is, which can be useful whether you do or do not want to conceive. Your fertility window is the four days leading up to ovulation, and is the time you’re most likely to become pregnant – as the sperm will be physically near the egg as it is being released. If your menstrual cycle usually lasts 28 days then it is likely you’ll ovulate on day 14 – half way through your cycle. Therefore, your fertile window would be between days 10 and 14.”

Stop smoking

“Smoking is a big no-no when it comes to fertility! Not only does it lower the levels of hormones which stimulate ovulation, it can also impair the receptivity of the uterus towards the egg. If your partner is a smoker, it’s also worth bearing in mind that smoking can negatively affect a man’s fertility, impacting his sperm production and quality. If looking for a reason to quit, the impact it has on your fertility is definitely a good one!”

Be aware of lifestyle factors

“Lifestyle factors such as sleep and stress can have an impact on fertility. When we are tired, levels of the hormone leptin fall, and research shows that there may be a link between leptin and low fertility in women. Try to aim for seven to eight hours a night – although we know this is easier said than done! Studies also suggest that there may be a link between stress and infertility. Stress can throw off your body’s hormone production, making your menstrual cycle less reliable. In the fast-paced world we often live in, try relaxation techniques such as yoga and medication to manage this.”

Make sure to keep fit

“While regular exercise is always great for physical and mental wellbeing, try not to overdo it. Some studies have suggested a link between frequent vigorous physical activity and low fertility in women. When a woman is either underweight or exercises too much this stops the Hypothalamus – the part of the brain that produces hormones which trigger ovulation – from releasing hormones, therefore prohibiting eggs from being released. Even if you’re not planning on having a baby now, it’s worth keeping this advice in mind.”

Keep eating well

“The benefits of a healthy diet should not be underestimated when it comes to fertility. A diet filled with the right nutrients and minerals will boost your reproductive system as well as regulating your hormones. Make sure your diet includes all the key food groups, but try not to eat too much processed sugar and carbohydrates, or carbonated beverages and foods that contain a lot of artificial ingredients. Your diet should contain enough protein, iron, zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin D, because deficiencies in these nutrients have been linked to lengthened menstrual cycles and therefore less frequent ovulation.

“When it comes to falling pregnant, being overweight or underweight may slow things down. Excess body fat can lead to an overproduction of certain hormones that disrupt ovulation. Your cycles may be less regular, meaning you ovulate less often, lowering chances of conception. Likewise, being underweight can also can have an impact on fertility, switching off your body’s ability to reproduce eggs, as it senses there isn’t enough fat to sustain a healthy pregnancy. If you follow a balanced diet, exercise regularly and ensue your weight is healthy, you will have a better chance of conceiving.”


“PCOS is a hormone related problem caused by small cysts growing on a woman’s ovaries, which subsequently cause a hormone imbalance. This imbalance causes problems with the regularity of periods, alongside other symptoms such as weight gain and excessive hair growth. Whilst many women with PCOS go onto conceive successfully, the condition can have an impact on fertility. If you suspect you have PCOS, whether trying to fall pregnant or not, it is important to visit a specialist.

Endometriosis is another condition which can have an impact on fertility. Endometriosis is a condition in which cells from the lining of the uterus also grow in other places, such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries or pelvis. Similarly to the regular lining of the uterus, this tissue goes through the menstrual process, breaking down and bleeding. Unlike a period, this blood has nowhere to escape to. This can lead to severe pain, and it can also lead to fertility problems. However, it is worth bearing in mind that the chance of conceiving a baby if you have minimal to mild endometriosis is not much different to those without the condition.”

Keep calm

“Finally, it’s important not to be scared by fertility. Whilst there is a lot of information out there and it can appear as if there’s conflicting advice around when to have a baby, what’s most important is that you feel comfortable with the topic, are clued up on all the options, and understand your body.”

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