Pregnancy After 40: Know Your Options
According to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more women are having children in their 30’s than ever before. While egg quality and quantity do decline the older a woman gets and pregnancy over the age of 35 comes with increased risks, with proactive planning, reproductive assistance, and knowing all your options, it is possible to have a happy healthy pregnancy and baby.
Age and Fertility
One of the first steps to pregnancy after 40 is exploring different ways to conceive. Women are born with approximately two million eggs. This is referred to as your ovarian reserve. As you age, this reserve will decrease as the years go by. By your mid-twenties, your reserve is estimated down to approximately around 300,000 eggs. Then, around 35, both the quality and quantity of your eggs begin to decline which can impact your chances of pregnancy after 40. As per the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, women under 30 have about a 20% chance of getting pregnant each month. Women over 30 have a 20% chance, and by 40, it’s drops to a noteworthy 5%.
Options to Achieving Pregnancy Over 40
While insemination is one option when you’re initially trying to conceive and is less expensive, women interested in achieving a pregnancy over 40 should speak to their doctor about in vitro fertilization for several reasons. While it is more expensive, it has overall higher success rates and it makes it possible to add genetic tests such as Pre-implantation Genetic Testing for Aneuploidy (PGT-A), formerly known as PGS. When a woman ages, her eggs have a higher chance for chromosomal abnormalities that can increase the risk of miscarriage. PGT-A can assist with these concerns as it identifies the correct number of chromosomes in embryos. This will help your doctor know which embryos to transfer, as the ones that are chromosomally healthy will have the highest chance of implanting, thus achieving a pregnancy over 40.
Considering Donor Eggs
While some feel strongly about being genetically tied to their child, donor eggs is one option if you are open to it and want to experience pregnancy after 40. When you pursue donor eggs, they are eggs donated from carefully screened women who are typically between the ages of 21 to 34, so they tend to have higher success rates. Eggs can also be donated from a friend or relative, andthere are also donor egg banks (similar to sperm banks). The cost of donor eggs can vary depending on where you go, if the donor eggs are fresh or frozen, and again, if the donor is someone you know.
One thing to remember when you’re interested in pregnancy after 40 is lean on your doctor and medical team to make sure you are taking all of the necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of both yourself and your future family. Building a family is possible, even in your forties, especially when you have so many resources, so feel free to ask questions and educate yourself every step of the way!