Women's Sexual Health Archive


Understanding Infertility



Fertility Changes with Age

Surprising news for both men and women: your biological clocks have been ticking for longer than you think. The results of recent research show fertility begins to decline in women as early as age 27 and in men around age 35. But the news isn't all bad; the fertile period (or open window for conception) during a woman's cycle remains the same length between ages 19 and 39.

The study, published in the May 2002 issue of the journal Human Reproduction, involved 782 European couples practicing the rhythm method of contraception. Women recorded their daily body temperatures, the days they had sex, and the days of their menstrual bleeding. Fertility was measured by the probability of becoming pregnant per menstrual cycle.

Should my doctor take out my ovaries during my hysterectomy?

Ask the doctor

Q. I'm having a hysterectomy for uterine prolapse. Are there advantages to leaving my ovaries, or should they be removed as well?

A. It depends on your age. In the past, it was common to recommend that women who were planning hysterectomies for benign problems to have their fallopian tubes and ovaries removed to greatly decrease the risk of ovarian cancer—a deadly cancer for which there is no good screening test. If you are nearing or have completed menopause, there is little disadvantage to this approach.

Can supplements save your sex life?

They'll tempt you with their marketing promises, but beware the dangers hidden within.

 Image: © FatCamera/Getty Images

It's February — time to think about roses, chocolates, sweethearts, and romance. And if those sentiments bring you to a certain drugstore aisle stocked with pills and potions promising to boost your sex life, you may want to think twice before buying any. "Most are a phenomenal waste of money, in my opinion," says Dr. Michael O'Leary, a urologist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Unicorn juice?

With a few exceptions, most supplements for sexual function haven't been studied scientifically. At best, says Dr. O'Leary, they have a placebo effect (a beneficial result from an inactive treatment).

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