Motherhood after 40
The modern world provides women with so many great opportunities but at the same time, it may cause a lot of disappointments. Since the current pace of life is highly demanding in terms of career and achievements, more and more women decide to postpone their pregnancy for later. They want to build a stable life, ensure good income, and feel secure about their future. The social judgment and pressure to start a family at a certain age were slightly released, and thus women feel freer to choose what they want and when they want it. While diving deep into work life, it is easy to lose the track of time and end up in a rather complicated situation in terms of getting pregnant over 40.
Motherhood is one of the most natural and desired cravings of women but the female reproductive function is both complex and sensitive health aspect. It is affected by so many interconnected factors such as nutrition patterns, lifestyle, environment, and natural age-related changes. All those life factors may be improved, but the only one we cannot impact is the age. The older a woman gets, the harder it is for her to conceive a child, and thus becoming pregnant at 40 years old is a tough and tricky challenge.
What does statistics say about having baby after 40?
The truth is that age is a crucial factor in female fertility age, and for this reason, the older is a woman the lower are her chances to have a child. We have all heard stories about the women who got pregnant after 35 or 40 or even 45, but it is necessary to understand that such cases are not that common and require a great effort to succeed. The fact is that after 35 a woman’s likelihood of conceiving and giving a birth dramatically decreases; however, it is possible to give birth to a child for a woman in her thirties or even mid-forties.
The fertility-age statistics is rather clear in this aspect. The chances of getting pregnant for a woman in her twenties is around 25%, so at the average, it would take about 3-4 months of constant attempts for a woman to conceive. After 35, female fertility dramatically decreases from 20% to 5% at the age of 40, and the chances of getting pregnant over 40 years old are as high as 2 per cent. So, the statistics of having a baby after 40 is rather clear but it doesn’t meant that it is completely impossible to have children after 40 years old.
What are the risks of pregnancy after 40?
Not only does the fertility decline with age, but the general health as well, for this reason, a woman may successfully conceive a child, but some other risks related to carrying and giving birth to a baby may arise. The statistics say that the number of miscarriages increases with age. The chances of miscarrying when you are in your twenties are 20% and at the age of 40, they reach 90%. Furthermore, the age of a male partner is associated with the increased risk of miscarrying as well and higher percentage of cancer cases.
Possible complications during pregnancy over 40 are more likely than at the age of 20. For example, women after 35 face a higher risk of stillbirth, caesarian section or other issues like placenta praevia (a condition when the placenta is not properly attached in the cervical opening area). Other complications are less common but still in order to detect them on time, it is necessary that a doctor monitors a woman after 40 more carefully and regularly.
Another aspect worth paying attention is the quality of eggs after the age of 40. This factor is extremely important for giving birth to a healthy baby without any genetic deferrals. The children born to the parents of older age are more likely to get a wide range of various diseases - from chromosomal abnormalities to autism disorder. The statistics for gene-related diseases in children born to women in their thirties is 1 per 400 cases, and for women after 40, it is 1 per 100 cases. But despite all that, most of the kids are born healthy and there are some special diagnostic techniques to detect those deviations at early stages of pregnancy or in the IVF procedure (PGD and PGS).
Possible solutions to consider
With modern technologies, it is possible to have children after 40. Couples who faced infertility or difficulties with conception may turn to assisted reproductive technologies to achieve their desired pregnancy. Fertility clinics offer a number of services that may help to solve these issues:
- Cryoconservation. Most of the clinics offer their clients to freeze their reproductive cells for the future, and it does make sense. If you plan to postpone your pregnancy for later (for your thirties or forties), you may use cryoconservation services to preserve the quality of your eggs, which you may use in future. This option is trending among the twentysomethings, who are conscious about building their family.
- IVF treatment may be a good option if you can’t conceive a child naturally. This procedure is recommended at the number of indications, including congenital or acquired conditions that prevent conception, the possibility of genetic diseases transfer, etc.
- Egg donation. This option may be applied if there was a number of failed IVF-cycles, if there are no oocytes in ovaries or if the woman’s eggs are of poor quality. Oocyte donation is completely anonymous, and doctors in reproductive clinics will try to ensure that your donor looks very much like you.
- Surrogacy. Surrogacy is another option for couples who can’t conceive or give birth to a child. This service is pretty popular, for it provides a chance to enjoy the happiness of parenthood. But it should be stated that there are strict requirements for surrogate mothers and couples eligible for using this option.
Motherhood after 40 may be pretty challenging but there is nothing impossible. If you are considering getting pregnant or you have faced some issues with conception, it is worth contacting a reproduction health clinic to get a professional consultation, advice and help you need.