When you look at women in their late 30s or 40s, instead of having 23 chromosomes, more of the eggs have an extra one or a missing one, says Dr. Richard Bronson, director of reproductive endocrinology at Stony Brook University. https://youtube.com/watch?feature=share&v=Pf7JuJcVzQUBut the big questionwhy do a womans eggs decline in quality as she grows older?remains unanswered. Is it that a womans body uses her best eggs first, or is something happening to the eggs as a woman ages? Bronson asks. No one knows. That may soon change. Bronson says some of the latest research suggests mitochondrial function within the egg may diminish with age, which could lead to chromosome abnormalities. Lifestyle factors ranging from cigarette smoking to obesity and stress could play a role as well, though much of the current research is speculative. Theres no question general health affects reproduction, he says. But exactly how all these variables interact is a complicated puzzle experts are still working to assemble. Even if an egg is perfectly healthy, the overall quality of the intrauterine environment changes as a woman grows older, Minkin explains. (Of course, the health of a mans sperm also plays a part.
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