Getting Pregnant in Your 40s

Getting pregnant chances when you are 40 and over

There is a sharp decline in a woman’s ability to achieve pregnancy over age forty. The fertility rate per month is only about 5% and even with in Vitro Fertilization (IVF), the most successful infertility treatment available, the pregnancy rate is only about 10% per try. This is due to the greatly reduced number of normal eggs remaining in the ovaries of a woman over forty. Therefore, women who desire a pregnancy over 40 should seek help after only 3 months of trying to become pregnant. Estimates from embryo biopsy reveal that at least 90% of a woman’s eggs are genetically abnormal when a woman is over 40. This is explains the increased pregnancy risk over 40. The miscarriage rate is 33% at age 40. Genetically abnormal pregnancies are more common as well with an incidence of 1/38 at age 40. For this reason, there are many women over 40 who choose to use an egg donor program to become pregnant. Eggs from a woman in their early twenties are used along with their husbands sperm to create embryos that are much more likely to lead to successful pregnancy. Pregnancy rates of about 80% are common in most egg donation programs. This is the best way to increase the likelihood of pregnancy over 40. An additional benefit is that the pregnancies that result from these younger eggs also have the miscarriage and genetic abnormality rate of women in their twenties. Therefore, the risk of pregnancy over 40 is limited to those potential problems that could occur that have nothing to do with genetics. As women get older the risks of medical conditions complicating pregnancy increase. Complications of pregnancy that increase with age include elevated blood pressure, gestational diabetes, premature labor and bleeding disorders such as placental abruption.

Pregnancy over 45 and Related Risks

Pregnancy over 45 is a very difficult proposition. Women over 45 have less than a 1% chance of getting pregnant using their own eggs. This is because virtually all of their remaining eggs are genetically abnormal. Successful pregnancy over 45 is therefore nearly always the result of egg donation. Many high profile women who have become pregnant in their forties, especially after the age of 45 did so with the help of donor eggs. The pregnancy risk over 45 is also increased. In the unlikely event that a woman over 45 becomes pregnant with her own eggs, the pregnancy risk over 45 results in a miscarriage rate of at least 50% and the incidence of a genetically abnormal pregnancy of 1 in 12. There is also a significantly higher risk of maternal and fetal mortality with pregnancy over 45 compared to younger women. It is especially important to make sure that a woman’s body is able to tolerate the stresses that pregnancy places on it prior to becoming pregnant. This means that a woman should be checked for problems like high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes before trying to become pregnant.

It may seem that there are higher rates of multiple pregnancy in older women. This is due to the fact that older women are more likely to seek treatment for infertility and these treatments have high incidences of multiple pregnancy than natural conception, especially when donor eggs are used. The fact is that it is much harder to get pregnant with one baby as a woman ages. The chances of a multiple pregnancy are even less. Nearly every woman over the age of forty who delivers more than one baby did so with the help of an egg donor.