Age Issues: Is Fertility Over 40 Still Possible?

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7:14 am October 3, 2011

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It’s time that the myths that have been perpetrated by the media be dispelled as what they really are – myths. While a lot of TV programs will tell you there’s still hope of fertility over 40, they don’t tell you that getting pregnant around that age is not as easy as it is for women who are in their, say, mid-20s. Fertility over 40 is still possible, yes, but there are a lot of catches that come with it. For older women who wish to get pregnant, you have to consider the following:

  • Only 10 percent of a woman’s eggs are normal and healthy after 40. As a woman grows older, her fertility window becomes narrower and narrower. Women in their 20s have a 20 percent rate of getting pregnant each month. This rate diminishes steadily through the years until it becomes only 5 percent for women over 40 each month and the miscarriage rate rises up to 33 percent. If you wish to improve your fertility over 40, you should seek medical assistance right away after three months of trying and failing.
  • Most successful pregnancies that happen over 40 are done after three tries with assisted reproductive technology (ART). ART is a method of fertility treatment that involves the use of up-to-date medical technologies supplemented with the use of fertility drugs and lifestyle changes to improve fertility over 40. In fact, majority of all healthy pregnancies and live births – around 80 percent – that take place beyond this age are because they have been the result of a specific ART, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) or gamete intra-fallopian transfer (GIFT). Most of these pregnancies also had to go through at least three sessions before being successful.
  • The harder it is to conceive one baby, the harder it also gets for multiple pregnancies. Common knowledge has it that women over 40 who undergo IVF treatments have higher chances of having a multiple pregnancy because the doctors usually increase the number of embryos they implant inside the uterus to increase chances of a successful pregnancy. However, most women don’t know that fertility over 40 is not only affected by the number and quality of their eggs, it is also a result of the quality of the embryo, which also diminishes as age advances.
  • The rate of success for ART instituted to women over 40 declines steadily over the years. Researchers have found out that for women aged 40 and above who underwent ART, the overall success rate was only 10 percent, compared to the 80 percent success rate for women in their 20s. Around the ages of 40 to 43, 14 percent of all ART pregnancies resulted in healthy live births. However, this number started to drop off steadily and significantly as the women got older. At age 45, only one in six women had successful pregnancies. Around one-fifth of all women aged 40 and above and went through ART cancelled their treatment for unknown purposes.
  • More miscarriages occur after 40. Fertility over 40 is not similar to fertility in yours 20s or 30s. Although a number of pregnancies can occur, there is a significantly higher rate of miscarriages after ART. About 25 percent of women who initially carried an implanted embryo were not able to actually carry the baby to term. As age increased, this rate skyrocketed to around 60 percent of all pregnancies. This is why doctors usually implant multiple embryos in the woman’s uterus. It acts as a kind of insurance in case the other embryos are too weak to flourish.

 

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