COVID19 Safety Alert
Skip to main content

I’m 40; What Are My Chances of Getting Pregnant?

I’m 40; What Are My Chances of Getting Pregnant?

Age plays a big role in fertility, and age factors can be complex.  

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the chance of getting pregnant at age 40 is less than 5% in each cycle. Then, by age 45 or so, the majority of women can no longer have a successful pregnancy. 

However, these statistics aren’t as dire as they sound. Here at The Fertility & Gynecology Center - Monterey Bay IVF, our renowned infertility specialist, Dr. Edward J. Ramirez, helps women build their families in their mid-30s, early 40s, and later. 

Many women come to us at age 40 to find out whether they can have a healthy pregnancy. We’re passionate about helping women become moms when they feel ready, regardless of age. 

For our May blog, we discuss how your age plays into your chances of pregnancy and how you can improve your odds. 

Why it’s hard to get pregnant at 40 

The main reason that it’s hard to get pregnant at 40 or older is what Dr. Ramirez calls “age-related egg factor.” 

You have the highest number of eggs before you’re even born, but lose them over time. Eggs decrease steadily in number until you’re about 32 years old. Then, the number of eggs decreases faster until about age 37. From then on, your total number of eggs rapidly declines even further. 

As your number of eggs declines, so does your egg quality. The inner egg structures grow weaker. By the time you’re in your mid-30s, your eggs are more prone to problems like chromosomal abnormalities during cellular division. 

Embryos with chromosomal abnormalities have a much higher risk of pregnancy loss. About half of miscarriages in the first trimester are due to such abnormalities. 

We’ve talked a lot about egg health and quantity, but you might have noticed we didn’t mention uterine health. That’s because your uterus doesn’t decline in the same way. So, that opens the door for assisted reproductive technology to help you get pregnant. Even if your eggs aren’t available or healthy enough, you have options. 

Getting pregnant at 40: your options

When you come to us for help, we start with blood tests to evaluate your ovaries and eggs. This includes tests to check the levels of the hormones involved in egg production and quality. In addition, an anti-mullerian hormone (AMH) test can help predict whether your ovaries will produce follicles with hyperstimulation treatment. 

Ultrasound evaluation is an accurate way to assess your uterus and ovaries. Dr. Ramirez may perform this test to detect problems like uterine fibroids or endometrial polyps (which can prevent pregnancy). Ultrasound evaluation can also determine how many follicles are in your ovaries. 

A high number of follicles means you can release a lot of eggs and have a better chance of getting pregnant. A follicle count of lower than 10 may reflect age-related egg reduction.

Dr. Ramirez considers blood tests and ultrasound results together to get a clear picture of your fertility, and then he explains your treatment options. Don’t worry: Treatment options are available if you’re diagnosed with age-related infertility. 

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is an option, but the success rates are at best .05% after age 40. If you try IUI without success, Dr. Ramirez usually recommends in vitro fertilization (IVF). Many women opt to start with IVF at age 40 or older because it has a much higher success rate. 

Specific success rates depend on the number of cycles and other individual factors. At The Fertility & Gynecology Center - Monterey Bay IVF, we’re proud of our high success rates. At age 40, your chance of pregnancy can increase from an average of 5% to 33% per cycle

For women 35 and older, the chances of miscarriage are higher than for younger women. But, we do everything possible to help you have a healthy pregnancy and delivery. We have some of the highest live birth rates from IVF among fertility clinics in the entire United States. 

In some cases, women in this age group might need to stack the odds in their favor even more through healthy, prescreened donor eggs. We’re here to help you explore all your options and support you as you move toward building a family. If you’re ready to learn more about pregnancy after 40, call our Monterey, California, office at 831-649-4483 or reach out online now.

You Might Also Enjoy...