Why Is It More Difficult To Get Pregnant After 35
Is your biological clock really ticking?
Welltheres no official age where a womans pregnancy becomes high risk, but pregnant women or those trying to conceive who are over the age of 35 may find there are additional challenges compared to when they were younger.
Explained below are some of the reasons why pregnancies can be more complicated as you age. Despite the obstacles, rest assured that women in their 30s and 40s can conceive and go on to have successful pregnancies.
Age Affects Your Eggs
A natural age-related decline in fertility is due to fewer eggs, less frequent ovulation and poorer egg quality. As you age, you may be less likely to release an egg during every cycle. Additionally, the quality of eggs can decrease in your 30s and 40s.
As a woman ages, the eggs she still has left are also more likely to have chromosomal abnormalities that can cause Down Syndrome and other developmental issues in children.
Conditions Progress Over Time
If you experience endometriosis, fibroids or uterine disorders, you may face challenges getting pregnant, especially as you get older. Women who have chronic health issues such as diabetes or high blood pressure may also find increased obstacles when trying to conceive.
Some of these conditions cause hormonal imbalances, and those imbalances put your fertility at risk. Other conditions, such as endometriosis, interfere with the way your uterus functions, making it difficult for a fertilized egg to implant.
Your Fertility Timeline
Can You Get Pregnant At 45
Yes, it’s possible to get pregnant at 45, though conceiving naturally is unlikely. A woman’s prime fertility time is between her late teens and her 20s, and once you reach your mid-30s, your ability to get pregnant starts to decline.
From the mid- and late-30s on, especially from age 40 and beyond, this dip in fertility tends to happen a bit more rapidly. Thats because a woman is born with a fixed number of eggs in her ovaries, and as she ages, the number of eggs starts to decrease.
Whats more, those remaining eggs are more likely to have chromosomal abnormalities, making a healthy conception trickier and the chance of a miscarriage more likely. Older women are also more likely to have gynecological issues that affect fertility .
All this means that it’s hard for many women to get pregnant naturally at 45. But it’s not impossible, especially thanks to assisted reproductive technology.
What Happens After Fertilization
If the sperm doesnt reach the egg in time, nothing else you do in the cycle will make a difference. That said, a fertilized egg still has a few obstacles to clear before you enter conception.
The cell travels through the fallopian tubes . Once the fertilized egg reaches the uterus, it needs an ideal balance of hormones to encourage implantation. Some women notice a bit of spotting during implantation.
If your body recognizes the pregnancy, it will stop menstruation from happening.
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How Hard Is It To Get Pregnant While Using A Condom
According to the HHS Office of Women’s Health, with typical use , the chance of getting pregnant with male condoms is about 18%, and with female condoms, it’s 21%. With perfect condom use every single time, those odds decrease to 2%.
Is There Help If I Havent Gotten Pregnant After 40
YES! Reproductive endocrinologists specialize in assisting women with fertility issues. After age 40, we recommend having a consultation with a specialist if you havent become pregnant within 6 months of trying. There are many options for how to proceed depending on a womans age and health history, her partners age and health history, etc. You can go over these options together and figure out the best plan for you and your partner. We wish you the best of luck!
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Fertility Treatments After 40
Research has shown that assisted reproductive technology is less effective after age 40, and the rate continues to fall as you get older. For example, intrauterine insemination success rates can be as low as 5% for women in their 40s.
In vitro fertilization has slightly better success rates for older peopleabout 15% per cycle. Still, this rate is not as good as it is for younger people.
The percentage of live births per IVF cycle for women over 40 is only 5.8%.
Egg donation may offer the best chance for someone who wants to get pregnant after the age of 40. In this process, a person can become pregnant using a donated egg that has been inseminated with the sperm of their partner or a donor.
The success rates for IVF using a donor egg can be upwards of 35% in cases of diminished ovarian reserve . While the success rates are encouraging, using an egg donor means that the person who becomes pregnant wont have a genetic connection to their child.
The decision to use an egg donor can be difficult to make. Some people will consider the option and decide its not the right choice for them.
The process can also be costly. The price tag may prevent some people from using egg donation services to become pregnant.
How Do People Get Pregnant With Twins
There are 2 ways that twins can happen. Identical twins are made when 1 already-fertilized egg splits into 2 separate embryos. Because identical twins come from the same sperm and egg, they have the same genetic material and look exactly alike.
Non-identical twins , are made when two separate eggs are fertilized by two separate sperm, and both fertilized eggs implant in the uterus. This can happen if your ovaries release more than one egg, or during certain kinds of fertility treatments. Non-identical twins have completely different genetic material , and usually dont look alike. Theyre the most common type of twin.
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Do You Know What Your Chances Of Getting Pregnant Really Are
It is possible to get pregnant on every day of a womans cycle.
Myth. Womens menstrual cycles have a fertile window of about 6 days, ending in the day of ovulation. However, the fertile window may occur on different days within the cycle.
A woman is likely to get pregnant on the days right after her period.
Myth. In most menstrual cycles, there are some days between the end of the period and the beginning of the fertile window however, in some unusual cycles, the fertile window starts before her period ends. This is more common in women who are nearing menopause.
A woman is likely to get pregnant on the days right before her period.
Myth. In most menstrual cycles, there are at least 10 days after ovulation and before the next period. Intercourse during these days will not result in pregnancy. However, in some unusual cycles, ovulation and the fertile window may be delayed, so you cannot rely on counting days to know for sure when ovulation happens.
A woman is likely to get pregnant around the middle of her cycle.
Myth and fact. For many women, ovulation happens around the middle of the cycle. However, in women with regular cycles, ovulation may occur as early as day 9 or as late as day 21. With an irregular cycle, ovulation may occur even earlier than day 9 or much later than day 21.
A woman is less likely to get pregnant on days when vaginal secretions are present.
It is impossible for women to identify the fertile window of the menstrual cycle.
Getting Pregnant With Pcos: Why Is It Harder
Its true that for some people with PCOS, getting pregnant can take a little longer. Thats because PCOS a common hormonal disorder that affects around one in ten women of reproductive age can make some people ovulate irregularly, or not at all. As ovulation is a vital part of getting pregnant, this irregularity can make things tricky but more on that below.
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Reasons For Fertility Drop
As you age, so do your eggs. And you have fewer of them, too. Youâre born with all the eggs youâll ever have in your life, about 1 million. By the time you hit puberty, you may have about 300,000 left. At 37, youâre down to just 25,000 — or 2.5% of your starting count. That matters because the fewer eggs in your ovaries, the lower your odds for conception.
Even if you do get pregnant, your older eggs are more likely to have abnormal chromosomes, which may raise your chance of miscarrying your baby. Also, women after 35 are more likely to have problems like endometriosis and uterine fibroids that make it harder for you to get pregnant.
The quality of your partnerâs sperm also matters. As men age, their sperm tend to swim slower and begin to lose their shape. But sperm quality doesnât drop steeply until after men enter their 60s.
Risk Of Miscarriage After 40
About 34% of pregnancies in women who are between the ages of 40 and 44 end in miscarriage. For women over the age of 45, the rate of miscarriage is 53%. Keep in mind that while it is true that over a quarter of pregnancies in women in their early 40s end in miscarriage, the majority do not.
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Going Off The Pill To Get Pregnant
How long does it take for the effects of birth control medication to subside? It’s actually possible to become pregnant immediately after going off the pill — as soon as the pill’s hormones are out of your system — although it may take a few months before ovulation begins normally again.
Is it safe to conceive right after you go off the pill? Yes. Women who conceive immediately after going off the pill are as likely to have a healthy baby as women who waited a few months in between.
What Are The Chances Of Getting Pregnant After 40
Rachel Gurevich is a fertility advocate, author, and recipient of The Hope Award for Achievement, from Resolve: The National Infertility Association. She is a professional member of the Association of Health Care Journalists and has been writing about womens health since 2001. Rachel uses her own experiences with infertility to write compassionate, practical, and supportive articles.
Andrea Chisolm, MD, is a board-certified OB/GYN who has taught at both Tufts University School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School. She has over 20 years of clinical experience and is currently is in practice at Cody Regional Health in Cody, Wyoming.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , 30% of women between the ages of 40 and 44 experience infertility. Your chances of conceiving in any given month also become lower as you get older.
Each month, the average 30-year-old woman has about a 20% chance of getting pregnant. A 40-year-old only has a 5% chance of getting pregnant each month.
Infertility rates in women between the ages of 15 and 34 are 7% to 9%. Of women between the ages of 35 and 39, 25% experience infertility.
Getting pregnant after the age of 40 is possible without fertility treatment, but it’s more likely that you will have a harder time conceiving once you reach this age.
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How Do I Improve Fertility After Age 40
There are many ways to improve fertility in general, and they become especially important after age 40. Besides naturally declining fertility, another challenge women over 40 face is that many will have been diagnosed with other conditions which can cause pregnancy complications and/or more difficulties getting pregnant. Examples are obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid disorders, fibroids, and endometriosis.
Women with other medical conditions should make sure that their physicians know that they are trying to conceive so that they can optimize their health to prepare for the pregnancy. This may mean changing medications, working on eating healthy, exercising, and weight loss , or being more aggressive in controlling some conditions like diabetes. A preconception counseling appointment with your regular gynecologist can help pinpoint areas for improvement and give you personalized recommendations.
It is important to take a prenatal vitamin daily when trying to conceive. They help you get the nutrients needed for healthy development of a fetus if you do become pregnant even before you know it. Some reproductive endocrinologists also recommend supplementation with CoQ10 to help with egg quality.
How It Does Actually Happen For Most People
A quick birds-and-the-bees recap for those of you who were too paralyzed by the fear of pregnancy to take in how it all works back in health class: The average woman releases an egg once per month. Once it drops, she has about 24 hours to get it fertilized. But even if you time it right, the fertilization process is far from over, as Noyes explains.
The egg gets released from the ovary and goes into the fallopian tube. The sperm swims up through the uterus into the fallopian tube, they date for a couple of hours, and by the next morning youve got an embryo. The embryo then travels to the uterus. From there, it plants itself in the uterine wall, and if all goes well, nine months later you have a baby.
Now, factor all that in with the common issues that can impact fertility potential. For starters, if you have an irregular period youre not ovulating every month, which means you have fewer times per year to potentially conceive. Low sperm count, which Noyes says accounts for 30% of trouble conceiving, is another common offender. Fibroid tumors and fallopian tube damage from conditions like endometriosis or damage from STDs can impede the process too. Factor in age and genetics, and the miracle of birth really does start to seem pretty darn miraculous.
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What Happens When You Fall Pregnant
For a woman to get pregnant, a mans sperm must fertilise her egg. A woman releases an egg from her ovary once every month. This usually happens about 14 days before the first day of her next period.
Most women ovulate each month. Occasionally, more than one egg is released, usually within 24 hours of the first egg. At the same time, the lining of the uterus begins to thicken and the mucus in the cervix becomes thinner so that sperm can swim through it more easily. The egg begins to travel slowly down the Fallopian tube, a tube that stretches from the ovary to the uterus.
The level of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone changes in a womans body during pregnancy. As soon as she has conceived, the amount of oestrogen and progesterone in her blood increases. This causes the uterus lining to build up, the blood supply to the uterus and breasts to increase and the muscles of the uterus to relax to make room for the growing baby.
If the egg is not fertilised, it passes out of the body during the woman’s monthly period, along with the lining of the uterus, which is also shed. The egg is so small that it cannot be seen by the naked eye.
Is It Possible To Get Pregnant Naturally At 40
YES! While fertility does decline naturally as we age, starting around age 30, it is possible to become pregnant without intervention after age 40.
However, women have a much lower chance of conceiving naturally after 40 than earlier in their reproductive years. Fertility specialists quote approximately a 5% chance per menstrual cycle of getting pregnant naturally after age 40 vs. a 25% chance per cycle for women in their 20s, which is when fertility typically peaks.
The reason for the decline in successful pregnancies after 40 is multifactorial. The rate of miscarriage is about 40% after the age of 40. This is due to many reasons, but the biggest is a higher chance of genetic abnormalities in each egg. Womens ovarian reserve also decreases over time, meaning they have fewer eggs by age 40.
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What Are The Chances Of Getting Pregnant At 45 Naturally
When a women in her 40s undergoes IVF with her own eggs, chromosomal screening of embryos is recommended. The likelihood of a choromosomally normal embryo at age 45 or greater is low. However, if you are in good health, the likelihood of conceiving with a donor egg can be extremely high.
Why More Women Are Getting Pregnant In Their 30s
For many decades, women between the ages of 25 and 29 had the highest birth rate. But in a 2016 research study, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that for the first time ever, women in their 30s were having more babies than women in their 20s. A separate 2018 study revealed that the average age for first-time mothers has gone up from 21 in the 1970s to 26 .
So, why are more women having babies in their 30s? There are a few main reasons.
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Reasons Why Its So Hard To Get Pregnant In 2022
When you were growing up, it might have seemed like getting pregnant was as simple as having unprotected sex. Unfortunately, when youre actually ready to get pregnant, you quickly learn that this is not the case. Often, it takes months of trying for couples without fertility issues to conceive and it may take years for those who do struggle with infertility.
12% of women ages 15 to 44 in the United States face difficulty conceiving or carrying a pregnancy to term. This process can be discouraging, especially when you have been trying to conceive for a long time without succeeding. So, why, exactly, is it so hard to get pregnant, even when you dont have underlying health issues?
The complicated answer is that factors like timing, biology, and environment can all interact to make your journey to conception straightforward or more difficult. Whether or not you struggle with infertility, here are some of the reasons why you may find it hard to conceive.