Fertility Rates and Aging

  • Jane Menken
  • Ulla Larsen


How much does the capacity to reproduce decline with age? Until quite recently, it was believed that fecundity declined slightly from age 20 to the early thirties, but more sharply after 35. Then a French study (Federation CECOS, 1982) published in February, 1982, reported results from a group of women who had undergone artificial insemination (Table I). Approximately 74% of women who were not over 30 conceived within 12 menstrual cycles. The percentage fell to only 62 for women 31–35, and to 56 for women 36–40. An accompanying editorial and many later newspaper and magazine articles suggested that risks of infertility rose sharply starting as early as age 30. The purpose of this chapter is to review evidence of the level and age pattern of decline in fecundity for women and for men and then to focus on delayed childbearing.


Married Woman Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Artificial Insemination Marital Fertility Marital Duration 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jane Menken
    • 1
  • Ulla Larsen
    • 1
  1. 1.Office of Population ResearchPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA

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