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Pregnancy Success After 40- What the Odds Are & How to Beat Them

June 15, 2018
Katie Visco

It’s known that as a woman gets older, her fertility tends to decline. As many are waiting until they are older to start families, where does that leave women who are 40+ years in regards to their fertility? Even though women’s healthcare is better than ever before, that doesn’t cancel out the effects that age has on fertility.

In this article, we are going to dive into a few topics…

  • What happens to a woman’s fertility as she gets older
  • How this affects her chances of getting pregnant (both naturally and through IVF)
  • Things that she can do to prepare her body for pregnancy

What happens to a woman’s fertility as she ages

flower in hand
‍Just like most things in life, fertility changes as you get older

One thing to remember is that every person’s body is different. There are people who have no trouble getting pregnant at 45, and some who struggle to conceive at 27. However, it is typical that as a woman gets older, her fertility decreases. This is due to a drop in not only the quantity of her eggs, but also the quality of them. Let’s go over a few statistics:

Natural Success Rates

pregnant woman
When you’re 40, you only have about a 5% chance of getting pregnant naturally

As mentioned above, a woman has about a 5% chance of becoming pregnant when she is 40+ years old. Keep in mind, this is per cycle, so that’s a 5% chance every month of getting pregnant. To optimize the chance of pregnancy, it is useful to track ovulation through cycle charting. When trying to conceive naturally, timing is key, so charting to figure out when “peak” fertile days are is very helpful. In addition to this, it’s important to support cervical mucous by drinking enough water and taking nutritional supplements.

IVF Success Rates

test tubes
Age impacts IVF rates, as well

As far as IVF is concerned, the age of the woman still has an impact on fertility treatments. Although IVF is more effective than an IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) procedure, the success rate is still only about 20%. Again, this is per cycle.  Typically, IVF clinics will have a limit, normally between 42-45 years of as, as to how long a woman can use her own eggs for the procedure. The older the eggs are, the lower the chances of a successful transfer. At 43 years of age, the chance of a successful pregnancy through IVF is 5%.

As you can see, the success rate of a successful pregnancy after the age of 40 drops drastically, whether you are trying to conceive naturally or through the use of IVF. This is a natural progression, and while all of these facts might seem a bit scary, don’t be too worried. Studies show that more women are having successful pregnancies later in life. In fact, from 2014 to 2015, the number of births for women over the age of 45 rose by 6%.

Preparing for a Healthy Pregnancy: What You Can Do

heart on a stick
Creating new habits can help get your body prepared for pregnancy

Luckily, there are things that you can do to optimize fertility and prepare your body for pregnancy if you’re over 40! Although all women can benefit from eating healthy, exercising often, and taking multivitamins regularly, there are certain areas that women over 40 can focus on that will help boost their fertility and aid in a healthy pregnancy.

Improve egg quality by going on a fertility diet

Go on a fertility diet to help with egg quality

This fertility diet outlined by Natural Fertility Info lists foods that are dense in specific nutrients that are proven to improve not only egg health, but hormonal function, fetal development, and blood health! Not only does this diet aid in fertility but it includes nutrients that will set the foundation for a healthy baby. Also, don’t forget about prenatal multivitamins and antioxidants!

Support hormonal balance

Having hormonal balance is really important

Menstruation, conception and pregnancy all rely on having a healthy hormonal balance. Learn about the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone and how they affect conception and pregnancy. Having too much or too little of either of these hormones could affect fertility. Consult a medical doctor if you think that you have a hormonal imbalance, and discuss the different treatment options available.

Talk to medical doctors

Doctors are here to help you

If you are 40 or over and have been trying to get pregnant for over 6 months without any results, consult a doctor. If you aren’t quite to that point, talk to a medical professional about tips to boost fertility and increase your chance of pregnancy. Doctors are there to help you along your journey to parenthood, so don’t hesitate to ask questions.

When a woman hits the age of 40, her fertility slows down immensely and the chances of her getting pregnant drop to just about 5%, both naturally and through IVF (this is due to a decline in egg quality). These statistics can seem dismal, but thankfully, conceiving at age 40 or over isn’t impossible. Eating a fertility diet to improve egg health, supplementing hormonal balance, and consulting with medical professionals are just a few things you can do to increase your chance of becoming pregnant over 40.


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