Pregnancy after the age of 40, is possible?
If you have already turned 40 and are considering motherhood… the answer is yes: pregnancy after the age of 40 is possible. Is it difficult? Yes. But it’s not impossible, and with the right treatments you can conceive.
The likelihood of getting pregnant naturally at the age of 40 is about 5% during each cycle, meaning that only 5 out of every 100 women over the age of 40 will achieve a pregnancy. Additionally, the possibility of having a spontaneous miscarriage must be subtracted from this number, as the likelihood of miscarriage increases considerably with age (it is estimated that miscarriage rates at the age of 40 or above are around 30 percent).
Age is the determining factor when it comes to conceiving, as the female’s age has a direct impact on the quantity and quality of her eggs. Click here to read about how a female’s age affects her fertility and chances of becoming a mother.
The quantity of eggs (but not the quality) that a female has at a certain time in her life is what we call the ovarian reserve, and we can evaluate it by performing an assessment during an initial fertility consultation, where the specialist will recommend the best assisted reproduction technique depending on the patient’s particular case. This initial assessment at URE Centro Gutenberg is completely cost-free.
Due to the demands of today’s society over recent years, the incidence of pregnancy after the age of 40 has increased considerably, and most cases are thanks to assisted reproduction techniques.
What treatment would be recommended if I can’t get pregnant naturally and I’m over the age of 40?
If you are over the age of 40, you haven’t been able to get pregnant after 6 months of trying and you are now wondering «How can I improve my chances of getting pregnant at the age of 40?», it is time to seek help from an assisted reproduction clinic.
A reproductive specialist will analyse your particular case in order to recommend the type of treatment that best suits you so that you can achieve a successful pregnancy. The types of treatment they may recommend include:
In Vitro Fertilisation
One of the treatments which can help you to increase your chances of pregnancy at the age of 40 is in vitro fertilisation. It is the most commonly used treatment in assisted reproduction clinics. It essentially involves extracting eggs from the female which will later be inseminated in the laboratory, left to develop completely, and finally transferred into the female’s uterus. Here we explain this procedure step-by-step, and in this article we answer the most frequently asked questions about this type of treatment.
Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis
If you end up having to undergo in vitro fertilisation treatment, performing PGD (pre-implantation genetic diagnosis) is highly advisable if you are 40 or older. This technique involves screening the embryo before transferring it to the female’s uterus to analyse the number of chromosomes the embryo contains.
The risk of chromosome abnormalities rises as maternal age increases, so with this technique we are able to avoid using embryos that do not have normal chromosomes in treatment.
This is in vitro fertilisation, but instead of using the patient’s own eggs we use eggs from a donor (here we explain more about this technique, and in this article we discuss how egg donors are prepared at our clinic).
Embryo donation consists in using an embryo from another couple’s treatment cycle. The couple whose embryo will be used has already gotten pregnant, but as they don’t wish to undergo any more treatment cycles they have decided to donate their remaining embryos to other patients who are struggling to conceive.
What types of risks are associated with pregnancy after the age of 40?
Maternal and foetal age-related complications during pregnancy are rare if the mother is properly monitored throughout her pregnancy, and as long as she was in a good state of health before she conceived.
Potential complications do not differ from those of younger pregnant women, but they occur more frequently and can be more serious, especially if the female is 45 or older.
What we must take into account when it comes to pregnancy after the age of 40 is that there is a greater risk of genetic or chromosome abnormalities the older the mother is, but there is no evidence that there is an increased risk of birth defects.
In terms of the type of delivery, the likelihood of having to undergo a caesarean section is higher due to the fact that uterine contractions and the response to oxytocin are worse in women over the age of 40.
Are you trying to conceive and are you 40 or older?
Get in touch with us and we’ll evaluate your case at your free initial consultation where we’ll do everything possible to help you.