Later motherhood is an increasingly common reality. It is one of the most important decisions in a woman’s life, which is why we tend to postpone it, waiting for a time of greater economic, professional, emotional and family stability.
However, the question is, can I get pregnant after 40?
What are the real chances of becoming a mother at 40?
The first thing to bear in mind is that it will depend on the way you choose to get pregnant.
From the age of 40 onwards, a natural pregnancy becomes complicated. This is due to the fact that female fertility is directly related to the woman’s ovarian reserve. Currently, it is known that it is usually optimal until the age of 26. From that age onwards, ovarian reserve begins to diminish, dropping drastically from the age of 35 onwards.
Thus, after the age of 40, there is only a 5% to 15% chance of achieving a natural pregnancy.
On the other hand, it is equally important to know that age affects the number of a woman’s eggs and their quality. Ovarian ageing causes genetic mutations and aneuploidies to accumulate in the gametes, which can cause illnesses in the future baby or even miscarriages.
Achieving pregnancy after 40
Despite the obstacles that can prevent you from becoming a mother after the age of 40, there are different ways to achieve it. And all of them are possible with the help of assisted reproduction.
In this case, as in many others, prevention is better than cure. That is why we can anticipate the difficulties involved in trying to get pregnant after the age of 40, thanks to fertility preservation. This is a technique that obtains the woman’s eggs in their optimum state (between the ages of 25 and 30) to preserve them until the moment she decides to try to get pregnant. This makes it possible to preserve the chances of a successful pregnancy, as we prevent the eggs from losing quality.
However, it is true that fertility preservation requires significant anticipation from women, and it may happen that at the age of 30 we are not even thinking about having a child later on.
IVF with PGT-A
For women who have not preserved their fertility in time, in vitro fertilisation may be the solution.
Basic IVF with a woman’s own eggs requires that the woman’s ovarian reserve is sufficient at the time of the egg retrieval. However, after the age of 40, the quality of the eggs, and therefore the success rate of IVF with the woman’s own eggs, is very low: between 5 and 15%.
It is therefore recommended in these cases to accompany the treatment with a pre-implantation genetic test (PGT-A). This genetic test makes it possible to identify healthy embryos before transferring them, in order to avoid possible illnesses in the future baby or miscarriages.
IVF with egg donation
Should it prove impossible to obtain enough quality eggs to carry out IVF, IVF with egg donation is always an option.
Thanks to the contributions of young, healthy women who voluntarily donate their eggs, it is possible for an older woman to fulfil her dream. The donor eggs are young and of good quality, free of genetic abnormalities.
Last but not least, thanks to embryo donation, there is the possibility of adopting a healthy, high-quality embryo previously donated by a couple who have already fulfilled their dream.
This option speeds up treatment times and reduces financial costs. It is indicated in cases of single women or couples of women over 40 whose ovarian reserve is not sufficient.
Pregnancy risks after 40
Once pregnancy has been achieved at the age of 40 or older, the risks of complications during pregnancy are high. A woman may face situations that can endanger both her own health and that of her unborn child.
Although it may involve facing a number of obstacles, it is also an opportunity to face motherhood with more maturity and stability in every way.
If you are 40 or older and want to fulfil your dream of becoming a mother, there is still time. Contact one of our professionals to find out what options are available to you.
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