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Fertility in Your 40s
It seems like every day there’s another story of a celebrity in her 40s getting pregnant with apparent ease. If you are over 40 and trying to conceive, these stories can provide hope and frustration in equal measure.
Getting Pregnant in Your 40s
The reality is, it is rare that women in their 40s naturally conceive—women 40-45 have about a five percent chance of getting pregnant naturally each month. Miscarriage rates are high: a 40-year-old has a 33 percent chance of miscarriage and women over 45 have a miscarriage rate as high as 50 percent or more.
Fertility Treatment in Your 40s
Even with fertility treatments, your odds of getting pregnant overall are not fantastic. But it certainly is not impossible either. In particular, slightly more than 50% of IVF cycles with donor eggs (what many of those celebrities are openly or not-so-openly relying on) result in a live birth, even up to age 50.
For IVF with your own eggs, 17 percent of IVF cycles in 40-year-old women resulted in a life birth. This is because as you get older, the chances of response to ovarian stimulation leading to successful egg retrieval drops. Even when egg retrieval is successful, fewer cycles reach transfer in older women, those that reach transfer are less likely to result in pregnancy, and those that result in pregnancy are less likely to result in live birth. By your mid-late 40s, the chances of all these steps succeeding and leading to life birth is less than two percent of all cycles.
If you are in your 40s and experiencing trouble conceiving, you should consult with a fertility specialist.