Motherhood at 40 – Is it possible?

Becoming a mother is one of the biggest and most life changing decisions a woman can make. It is also a very important one, where couples or single woman wait for the ideal moment to have children. It is a reality that more and more women are putting off having children until their 40s. There are various reasons (financial, social or professional reasons) as to why motherhood is being postponed. But at some point women reach an age where their start asking themselves: Is Motherhood at 40 possible? Can I even become pregnant in my 40s?

Nowadays, it is increasingly common to find women who decide to face motherhood at 40 or later. It should not be ignored that from this age onwards there are risks which can impact a pregnancy but there are also advantages of late motherhood that we would like to highlight in this article.

Risks of being a mother after the age of 40

It is important for women at this age to be aware of the risks that may arise for both mother and baby.

Difficulties that frequently occur during pregnancy at such an age include: stress, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, premature birth or premature rupture of the membrane.

Low Ovarian Reserve: The quality and quantity of eggs decrease as we age. Additionally, the older the woman trying to conceive is, the higher the risks of chromosomal alterations in the baby. This is where assisted reproduction can increase the chances of achieving a pregnancy with a healthy baby,  either through embryo selection or through treatments such as egg donation.

Another risk that the mother-to-be may face after the age of 40 is an increased probability of suffering a miscarriage.

It is important to be more cautious and to regularly undergo medical examination. According to clinical data provided by the Spanish National Statistics Institute (INE), more than 51% of women between 40 and 44 may suffer a miscarriage. From this age on the risk of miscarriage rises to 93%.

Dr. Estefanía Rodríguez from our IVF-Donostia clinic states that “35-40% of women that come to our clinic for a consultation are over the age of 40”.

That is why in our fertility clinic IVF-Spain in Alicante, we receive more women every year that wish to begin their journey to motherhood at the age of 40 and resort to the assisted reproduction treatments we offer.

Motherhood at 40 – What are the chances of becoming pregnant?

As we have mentioned, it is essential that women who wish to become pregnant after the age of 40 have knowledge about their ovarian reserve and other hormonal profiles in order to achieve a successful pregnancy.

After the age of 40 the pregnancy rate using own eggs is only around 5% to 15%. However, women who turn to techniques like egg donation have an 80% probability of achieving pregnancy, as this treatment makes it possible to limit age-related genetic problems and chromosomal abnormalities such as Down Syndrome.

Fertility tests for women in their 40s

Before starting a fertility treatment, we must be aware of the fertility of the woman who wishes to become a mother at the age of 40 or older (with or without partner). For this reason, a blood test and transvaginal ultrasound are carried out.

These tests are carried out to analyse the levels of the Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) in the blood, which, together with the antral follicle count (ultrasound), will show us the amount of oocytes that are available in a certain month and with this determine the woman’s ovarian reserve.

AMH: The Anti-Müllerian hormone has a fundamental predictive value for fertility treatments, as it estimates how the ovaries will respond.

  • Antral follicles: Within each ovarian follicle the egg grows and matures. As they are still immature, they are full of liquid and this liquid is what we know as antral follicles.

Both tests allow us to analyse the level of the ovarian reserve. With this information, together with other parameters such as the quality of the semen, we will determine the steps to follow during a fertility treatment.

Fertility treatments for women in their 40s

Depending on the results of the ovarian reserve and the quality of the sperm (either from the partner or from a donor) our fertility specialists will personalise the appropriate treatment for each case.

Treatments such as egg donation or embryo adoption may be the best option for women who want to start their journey to motherhood at 40 but have a low ovarian reserve. The difference between both techniques is that for embryo adoption hormonal stimulation is not necessary and therefore the cost of treatment is considerably lower.

Although both treatments have a very high success rate, our specialists must study the possibilities of each woman to choose the best treatment for her case. In addition, there are a number of advanced techniques that are performed in the laboratory to guarantee pregnancy.

Special techniques to transfer the best embryo

At IVF Spain we are proud to be able to count on the most advanced technology and a great team of professionals to guarantee the transfer of a single embryo. This is due to the fact that twin pregnancy can lead to different complications, such as premature birth or delayed uterine growth.

At our fertility centre, embryo selection according to genetic criteria uses the most advanced techniques of pre-implantation genetic analysis, currently known as PGT-A (Preimplantation Genetic Testing for Aneuploidy).

By performing embryo selection using PGT-A, we manage to increase the rate of successful transfers by reducing the rate of genetically caused miscarriages and by this, significantly increasing the rate of healthy births.

Through the development of treatments carefully adapted to the patients and the use of newest fertility techniques, such as our advanced embryo selection process and time-lapse technology, we have managed to differentiate ourselves and specialise in more complex cases. This is the reason why at IVF Spain we can guarantee the success of becoming at mother at 40. 

Advantages of Motherhood at 40

One of the biggest advantages is the maturity with which important decisions are faced. This allows to be completely sure of the choice made, ideas and life goals are more thought through and insecurities have long vanished.

Say goodbye to doubts, insecurities or indecisions you had when you were younger. Because with age the emotional preparation for motherhood has increased significantly.

Another advantage for women who want to become a mother at the age of 40 is the financial and professional security she finds, being able to provide their baby everything it needs.

At IVF Spain we know that there are many advantages of becoming a mother at a later age and this is why we want to support you in this decision. If you would like to consult your individual case, please contact us using the following form.