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The Takeaway

Time to Conceive Principal Investigator, Dr. Anne Steiner, interviewed by John Hockenberry on NPR’s The Takeaway


There are more than 7 billion people on planet Earth, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.Fertility in the human species is not the number one planetary concern it would seem. This fact, however, is of little solace to women around the world trying to decide when to have children. Such questions range from culture to culture and place to place, are subject to the speculative theories of folk medicine, myths handed down from generation to generation, and simple junk science.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a woman’s chances of having a baby “decrease rapidly every year after the age of 30.” Dr. Anne Steiner, associate professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, says that’s an exaggeration, and that while fertility does decline with age, most women who want to conceive in their 30s will be able to.

Steiner says that as we improve our ability to gather and interpret the data on age and fertility, we’re getting more reliable information on when it actually drops off. According to her data, there isn’t a major decline in fertility until age 40.

Erin White-Ulvi is a new mom who says that her doctor advised her to start thinking about having children when she was 29-years-old, warning that her fertility would soon be declining.

GUESTS: Dr. Anne Steiner and Erin White-Ulvi

PRODUCED BY: Ibby Caputo and Megan Quellhorst