2 articles Tag fertility

Getting Pregnant After 40: Risks, Statistics, and Solutions

Infertility after 40 is becoming a common concern as more women choose to start their families later in life. Simply put, the older a woman gets, the harder it is for her to conceive with her own eggs. This is a scientific fact based on the significant decline of viable eggs produced by a woman as time passes. For women approaching their 40th birthday – or are already in their 40s – knowing their pregnancy risks, statistics, and possible solutions to conceiving after 40 can help them make the best choice for their family.

Valuable Statistics to Know

What are the odds of women conceiving after 40? According to the CDC, 30% of women in their 40s will experience infertility. Keep in mind that age may be one of many contributing factors to infertility. A study published in Fertility and Sterility showed women in their early 40s had a 25% chance of conceiving using their own eggs, but by age 44 that chance dropped to only 1.6%.

However, there is still hope for these women; they can increase their odds of getting pregnant by seeking fertility treatments such as intrauterine insemination (IUI), traditional IVF, or donor egg IVF. Some such fertility treatments are available at Fertility Plus

Risks of Getting Pregnant in 40s

While a successful natural pregnancy is possible over 40, there are still significant risks to consider. After age 35, women have a higher risk of the following:

  • High blood pressure
  • Premature labor and birth
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Preeclampsia
  • Miscarriage
  • Low birth weight
  • Placental problems
  • Birth complications

It’s impossible to know how your body will react, but thanks to scientific advances in fertility treatment, many of these risks can be decreased using assisted reproductive technology (ART).

Treatment Options

Women experiencing infertility after 40 have a few options to consider. They can try stimulating their own ovulation with fertility drugs or seek intrauterine insemination, a process in which a woman is inseminated with healthy sperm just as she is scheduled to release an egg. While both treatments can help increase the odds of conception, the best option with the highest chance of pregnancy for women over 40 – a whopping 39% – is in vitro fertilization (IVF) using donor eggs.

IVF and Donor Eggs

In vitro fertilization uses ART techniques to implant a fertilized egg into the mother’s uterus. As discussed, using one’s own egg becomes difficult after 40. Given this difficulty, families often opt to use donor eggs from a younger, healthier woman. By using donor egg IVF, the mother still experiences the miracle of childbirth with significantly less risk of miscarriage. Frozen donor egg banks provide a nationwide database of egg donors to choose from, or mothers-to-be can choose fresh egg donation from a family member, close friend, or select from a small regional pool of available donors. Frozen eggs are the better option for many families because the donor has already been screened, knows her legal rights, and may have had previous successful conceptions (either through her own children or children resulting from prior donations). Furthermore, the IVF process with frozen eggs is quicker than fresh eggs, as syncing the menstrual cycles of the donor and mother is necessary when using fresh eggs.

Steps Leading to Donor Egg IVF

Before committing to donor egg IVF, couples should seek counseling to prepare themselves for the emotions involved. While this treatment is a source of hope, it can also be a source of stress and anxiety. Aside from therapeutic counseling, couples should also seek legal counsel to establish rights between all parties when using fresh eggs.

The Bottom Line

Pregnancy already comes with a degree of risk and possibility of failure, whether aged 25 or 43. If a woman is struggling to conceive, she should ask her doctor about possible treatment options.

If you’re thinking about being pregnant after 40, there are some precautions that you have to take under consideration. For example, you need to see if you are still fertile, if not there are many avenues you can go down like IVF from Fertility Plus.

 

Running Back to Motherhood

I want another baby.

Anyone who has read this blog over the past 2 years or knows me at all will know that this is a big statement. After having Sausage and the PTSD that followed, I honestly thought I’d never want any more children. The thought of going through a pregnancy and birth as hideous as my first was just too much to bear, let alone the thought of being unable to hold yet another baby for the first week of their life, having to view them through wires and tubes. I told myself I didn’t have enough love in me to share it between Sausage and another baby, I told myself that it would spoil the relationship I have with her, I told myself that I just couldn’t do it.

But, something has changed, be it the passing of time or seeing friends with babies or simply my biological clock, and it’s telling me I’m ready. I almost feel overwhelmed by that single thought, I never thought I’d be in this place or ready to do it all again, but I am.

Mentally, anyway. Physically? Not so much…

When I fell pregnant with Sausage, I was 23, about 3st overweight but generally healthy.

Now, I’m 28, diabetic, have an stupidly under active thyroid and am about 5st overweight.

If I thought the last pregnancy was hard, any future ones will be terrifying in my current physical state. I’ve written plenty of times about my intention to lose weight and nothing has ever come of it, save for dropping half a stone here and there, only to put it back on again. But I need to do this, for many reasons.

The main one is Sausage. She’s been around for 4 years and has witnessed my unhealthy relationship with food, no matter how much I kid myself that I hide it. Yes, she’s four, but that’s still plenty young enough to change my ways and for it to have a really positive impact on her.

Also, while I want my body to be healthy enough to cope with pregnancy, I want to be able to still be Sausage’s Mummy. I don’t want to have to change what we do because of being pregnant, so getting fit and strong will be a real help with that. Last time around I suffered with SPD, hyperemesis gravidarum, high blood pressure, swollen ankles and hands and gestational diabetes, all of which I’m hoping will be improved by being fitter and stronger. It may all still happen, but at least I’ll be able to say that I did everything I could to prevent it.

So, what’s the plan?

I’m going to learn to run.

I realise I already know how to run, but for someone as unhealthy and unfit as me, it’s not as simple as putting on some trainers and pounding the pavement (or maybe it is?) but I’ll have a little help from ‘Get Running’, an iPhone app designed to get you from couch to 5km in nine weeks. That’s right, if I start today I could be running 5k non-stop by 23rd October. Exciting, eh? So I’m going to start later today and will blog about my progress with this program in the hope of inspiring anyone else who wants to give it a go but just doesn’t feel confident enough. I’m going to hit the ‘Thinking Slimmer’ hard again too in the hope that I can sort out my dependence on food.

As well as being fit and healthy, I have a secondary goal, which is being able to do Race for Life in 2013 at a run, rather than a fast walk. In 2011, my time was around 45 minutes, 2012 was about 42 minutes – I want 2013 to be nearer the 25 minute mark.

Wish me luck!