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Delaying pregnancy into the 40’s could not be easier. Creating pregnancies for women in their 40’s is anything but. This article is the road map women wish they had before trying to get pregnant at 40.
Planning on getting pregnant at 40 is on the rise, but your circle of friends may not be joining. There are many others on the same path, ahead, behind, and with you. Would you like to know what you all have in common? Surveys say that first-time mothers in their 40s….
- All have the same Pregnancy Plan A – pregnant within a few months.
- US women are confident Pregnancy Plan A will go as expected, very few have considered a Pregnancy Plan B.
- European women all have Pregnancy Plan B, it is the same Plan B, and regard it with the same confidence US women have with plan A – IVF.
- Women know that fertility declines as they get older, yet few can give more details.
Beginning a family later in life is an increasingly popular choice in modern parenthood.
The number of women who start getting pregnant at 40 and over has steadily risen in the last 30 years, with lifestyle and career being the most common reasons behind the decision (aa). This shift in trend is the result of three widely held beliefs that women discover were misconceptions.
The contraceptive pill promotes a heightened and unrealistic sense of fertility.
- Belief: ‘use the contraceptive pill properly and you won’t get pregnant, if you don’t use it properly or stop taking it, you could be pregnant before you know it.’
- Misconception: if pregnancy can be only a few missed doses away, I am very fertile.
- Expectation: I will be pregnant soon after I stop the taking pill.
- Reality: Women under 35 generally have a 20% chance of becoming pregnant per month. Allow 2 years to become pregnant. If you have not become pregnant after 2 years, see your doctor.
the contraceptive pill allows women to prevent and postpone pregnancy for as long as they want.
Up to 60% of US women who delay their first pregnancy until their 40’s are unaware of the challenges commonly faced (cc).
It is common knowledge that women’s fertility gradually declines with age and typically ends in their mid 40’s. Women choosing pregnancy in their 40’s will have a range of beliefs regarding age, fertility decline, and what it means to them and their pregnancy. A survey of US women discovered very few could understand the relationship between rapid fertility decline and age until they actually had to start treatment for it (cc).
‘Pregnant at 40’ women share a common belief. Age-related fertility decline problems are of no real concern to them.
US women believe age or fertility decline problems will not apply to them (cc). European women believe IVF will solve any pregnancy problems they may encounter. (dd) A recent US survey found 31% of women believed getting pregnant at 40 and over is easily achieved once the contraceptive pill is stopped (bb). 44% of women had no idea that IVF was going to be necessary.
Pregnancy can’t be that hard if more and more women are giving birth in their 40’s.
On the surface, this statement seems logical enough to be true. The number of women attempting pregnancy in their 40’s has increased, and the number of babies born has increased along with it. However, when comparing the number of women to the number of babies, the success or birth rate among these women has not changed.
Natural pregnancy rates run at about 40% between 35 – 39 years of age. That means 40 out of every 100 women who want a baby do so without needing a doctor or medical help. Between 40 – 44 these same rates drop to 20%, and at 45 down to 10%.
IVF received the glory for the achievement, adding a new level to its mythic status. Was there a breakthrough, and if so, will the discovery help many women or is it only useful for IVF patients in their 70’s? Alas, the surgical procedure of transferring donor eggs has been used in IVF since the 1990’s, yet the result highlights two very important things:
A woman’s desire and ability to have a baby extend well beyond her reproductive years and natural fertility.
- Fact: IVF is responsible for over 600 pregnancies a year for women in their 50’s.
- Common Interpretation: Even though my natural fertility years are over, IVF can get me pregnant.
- Common Belief: IVF can give me a baby any time I want.
- Reality: All true, but only made possible using donor eggs. Women want to use their own eggs to fall pregnant, only considering donor eggs as a last resort. Only 18% of women in their 40’s go on to use donor eggs.
- Classified: IVF has very low success rates for women over 40 using their own eggs. Age 40 – 42 : 11 women per 100 IVF cycles give birth using their own eggs. Success rates have improved by 1% in the last 10 years. Age: 43 – 45: less than 5 women per 100 IVF cycles give birth using their own eggs. These numbers have not changed since 1992. (dd).
Natural fertility rates beat IVF every time. What are the doctors missing?
Surely IVF is helping women who can’t fall pregnant to solve their infertility issues. If this was the full story then still, only one in five women at 40 fall pregnant using IVF. One in twelve women has a baby at the age of 44. It would seem that trying to create a natural pregnancy is the most effective solution.
How to beat the post-40’s IVF blues? Getting pregnant naturally after 40.
Now, this is no coincidence, but do the above two charts look the same as the first two?
The intervals of years and rates of decline are the same. Is this a clue to the underlying reason for declining fertility rates? You bet it is! It is the essence of declining fertility rates and the key to solving it.
The Egg Quality Issue
Most of us have made popcorn. We notice that below all that nice hot fluffy popped corn, there are some kernels left un-popped. Now there is a scientific reason why these kernels don’t pop. All the kernels look the same, but some just won’t pop.
This is what happens to a woman’s eggs after 38 years of age. They still look the same yet don’t ‘pop’ so well anymore. Fertility rates drop because of fertilization problems due to declining egg quality. It sounds so obvious now.
After 38 egg fertilization rates drop because of decreasing egg quality.
Antral follicle counts, ovarian reserve, and Anti-Mullerian Hormone levels are fertility markers. Natural fertility rates and IVF success rates depend on proper levels of these markers.
Learn more about what these markers mean here.
The key to promoting pregnancy in women in her 40’s is to improve her egg quality.
How do you know if egg quality is good? Get an Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) test done, and that will give you a great sign on your egg quality. Learn more about the AMH test here.
If you are over 38 and have typical AMH values of 1.96 ng/ml or 14 pmol/l and above, then your eggs are great. It is the same as having eggs of a woman of 30. AMH levels of ‘normal’ or ‘below normal’ over 38 years-of-age show you where the real problem lies.
Improving egg quality is the key to pregnancy after 40.
How to improve egg quality? Is it easy? Umm… no.
Improving egg quality and its AMH indicator is impossible according to your doctor.
Improving egg quality back to that of a 30-year-old is possible and within reach of many women over 40.
Knowing your current AMH and day 3 FSH levels is an excellent indicator of improvement. In general, higher AMH levels and lower day 3 FSH levels are a great sign that improvement is possible. Lower AMH levels and higher FSH levels make it harder. Check your levels with our research, to know how likely you are to see improvements in your egg quality. Learn more about proper AMH and FSH values and what they mean.
IVF doctors can’t improve egg quality with below normal AMH levels.
Neither can any pharmaceutical drug. To date, improving egg quality for women over 40 has eluded modern medicine altogether. It is not even a field of research.
If you have AMH levels below that of a 37-year-old, IVF is unlikely to help you. The lower your levels, the less the chances of a pregnancy. IVF success rates, even with normal AMH/FSH values, are between 18% – 2%. What are the rates when AMH levels are low? 8% – 2%. See the ‘Essential Guide to low AMH and IVF,’ to understand this topic in detail.
Now, these facts are not designed to dishearten would-be mothers. Knowing the limits of what IVF can do is a reality check. Be informed!
There are natural and intelligent ways of getting pregnant naturally after 40.
- You can improve your fertility by adding a few simple ingredients to your weekly diet.
- Reducing stress and improving quality of life does not have to be hard.
- Know what supplements are best for fertility.
- Solve pre-existing fertility problems such as irregular periods and endometriosis.
- Take Advanced Fertility Solutions recommended products to assist in getting pregnant naturally after 40.