Now more than ever, more women are waiting until they are older to get pregnant. And that’s not a bad thing! Many women choose to wait so they can focus on their career, travelling, and other personal goals before starting their family.
While there are many reasons women wait to have children, there’s no denying that your chances of conceiving significantly decrease with age. But just because your age makes it more challenging to conceive does not mean that it is impossible. Learn more about fertility and your options if you are struggling to become pregnant below.
How A Woman’s Age Affects Her Fertility
Unlike men, women are born with all of the eggs they will ever have. Over time as a woman ages, her eggs age with her. This means that the older a woman is, the more her ovarian reserve diminishes, both in terms of quantity and quality. Starting around age 32, a woman’s chances of getting pregnant begin to decrease gradually. By 35, this gradual decrease begins to speed up, and by age 40, your chances of conceiving have significantly decreased. In addition to your decreasing fertility chances, as a woman ages, there is a higher risk of miscarriages, as well as pregnancy and childbirth complications.
How to Increase Your Chances of Conceiving After 40
While it certainly is more difficult to conceive after 40, it’s important to know that it is possible! It’s important to capture healthy eggs as soon as possible, so that they are not even more affected by the aging process. Studies have shown that in many cases, moving directly to IVF treatments can yield higher overall pregnancy rates (compared to trying other treatments first). These studies also show that moving directly to IVF can help decrease the time to pregnancy.
While no one can change the number of eggs that your ovaries contain, our fertility specialists use a variety of cutting edge IVF protocols to help increase your chances of a successful pregnancy. Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS) can be used to test your embryos to ensure that only chromosomally normal embryos are selected to transfer to the uterus. This will help decrease the chances of miscarriage or a failed pregnancy.
Is Minimal Stimulation IVF Good for Women Over 40?
Some patients who are over 40 and/or have a diminished ovarian reserve may benefit from minimal stimulation (mini-stim) IVF. This technique is uses a gentler stimulation protocol (compared to traditional IVF) and focuses on retrieving a few, high quality eggs. If your ovaries provide 5 or fewer eggs per cycle, aggressive stimulation may not be necessary. Because older women have fewer eggs, mini-stim IVF may be more cost effective in potentially producing a successful pregnancy. Mini-Stim IVF is also a good fertility treatment option for women with high FSH or who have failed to conceive with a traditional approach.
There are some benefits to choosing mini-stim IVF. In addition to it being cheaper, it also can reduce unwanted side effects that come with the high dose medications of traditional IVF. It’s important to note that all bodies are different, and what may be a good treatment option for someone else may not be the best treatment for you. It’s best to consult with your fertility specialist to see what treatment he or she thinks is best suited for you.
Fertility Specialists in South Jersey
If you are over 40 and struggling to conceive, it’s important that you schedule an appointment with a fertility specialist as soon as possible. Time is of the essence, and you want to increase your chances of a successful pregnancy.
Here at South Jersey Fertility Center, we are passionate about helping our patients achieve their dream of a family. If you live in New Jersey or Pennsylvania and are unsure if fertility treatments are the right option for you, we offer free 15-minute phone consultations with Dr. Lauren Weissmann. This will allow you to ask any questions you may have, as well as learn more about what treatments may entail. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us today!