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Chapter 2 - Biological Basis of Female Reproductive Aging: What Happens to the Ovaries and Uterus as They Age?

from Section 2 - Biological Basis of Female Reproductive Aging: What Happens to the Ovaries and the Uterus as they Age?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 September 2022

Dimitrios S. Nikolaou
Affiliation:
Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London
David B. Seifer
Affiliation:
Yale Reproductive Medicine, New Haven, CT
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Summary

The loss of oocytes and reduced oocyte quality contribute to age-associated ovarian decline and decreased fertility, which is at odds with the social trend toward delayed family building. Females are born with a finite cohort of germ cells, arrested from mid-gestation, and they progressively lose them throughout their reproductive lifespan, reaching a state of near depletion at menopause. Declining oocyte number, however, is not the sole culprit for age-related infertility. Oocyte competence, the ability to fertilize, develop, implant, and produce a live offspring, deteriorates more or less in concert with declining ovarian reserve. The uterus likely also plays a role, further hindering reproduction later in life, though additional studies are needed.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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