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This chapter should be cited as follows:
Bopp, B, Seifer, D, Glob. libr. women's med.,
(ISSN: 1756-2228) 2008; DOI 10.3843/GLOWM.10341
Under review - Update due 2021

Age and Reproduction


Bradford L. Bopp, MD
Midwest Reproductive Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana
David B. Seifer, MD
Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, UMDNJ--Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, New Jersey



Human reproduction is profoundly influenced by age. The study of the effect of age on human reproduction is complicated by the numerous physiologic changes occurring in men and women as they age, coupled with powerful environmental and socioeconomic conditions exerting external influences on them. Through the advances of science and modern technology, the average life expectancy of men and women continually increases. Despite this, modern technology has been unable to extend the reproductive potential in women, and the age of onset of menopause remains remarkably constant. Although many factors contribute to the age-related decline in human fertility, the data suggest that maternal aging renders the most significant impact. More specifically, the ovary contains the pacemaker of a woman's “biologic clock.” Although the focus of this chapter is on maternal aging, the effect of paternal aging on human reproduction is discussed briefly.