21 answers

Getting Pregnant at 40 Years Old

I am planning on trying to have a baby next year, which will make me 40 by the time the baby would be born. I would like to know, number one, why has it been so difficult to get pregnant in my late 30's when I had no problem in my 20's, and any advise on the best way to go about getting pregnant (if the old fashion way isn't working). Should I go straight to IVF, or try other things first. I don't plan on trying again until I am recovered from my back surgery. I have had about three miscarriages, and used no birth control in seven years, so I know foresure there is a problem somewhere. I am not sure if it is my back problems or somethihg else. So, for all those out there thinking I am crazy about getting pregnante now....I am going to wait until my back is healed.

What can I do next?

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Hi there, I married in 2000 at the age of 30 and wanted kids by the time I was 35 - had no idea how hard it would be! We ended up going through IVF (triplets born in 2005) and what I was told was that as we age, we drop eggs less regularly - often multiple eggs one month then only one the next...totally unpredictable but that is how some older moms end up with multiples after trying forever.

IVF is expensive so if you haven't tried the new fertility meds out there - there are some that are pretty agressive - I have known 3 couples who have had successful pregnancies on the meds alone. IVF was a great experience for us and though it was a triplet pregnancy, I delivered at 35 years old and the kids had no complications.

I'd try the old fashioned way for at least a few months and if that doesn't work, I'd go see a specialist. I saw a great Dr. who has an office in Bellevue - Dr. Nancy Klein. She's one of the best in the area (her and her team). I know a lot of women who've seen her too and have had success in getting pregnant. There are other ways that are cheaper/easier than IVF - like IUI's. Best Wishes!

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This is a cranky letter from an old person,
People at 40 are often starting their perimenopause and frankly I find it unnatural and somewhant criminal and not that great for your health to be pregnant at this age. Esp. with your back problems. At this age you might not want to sacrifice your life and energy for so long and as I said, your back problem is extreme making pregnancy what I consider to be even a worse idea.This is probably not appreciated. And IV pregnancy. Why do people think that if they can not get pregnant naturally God, or whatever, wants them to try so artifically. Spend yor money, time, and energy on kids that are already here. Sorry, it just gets to me, insane perimenopausal women thinking it is a good thing to be pregnant. Ignore me and tell me to go to hell, sorry again.

1 mom found this helpful

A.. Like you, I love children. I had five....all when I was not yet thirty. I am afraid that I am on the side of those who think you are crazy to do this. Your two daughters will be 19 and 12 in two years and you may still have a bad back. Please get a puppy instead or wait a few years more and enjoy the great pleasure of being a grand mother. I am and its the best. You keep them for awhile and then they go home!! N..

1 mom found this helpful

I'd try the old fashioned way for at least a few months and if that doesn't work, I'd go see a specialist. I saw a great Dr. who has an office in Bellevue - Dr. Nancy Klein. She's one of the best in the area (her and her team). I know a lot of women who've seen her too and have had success in getting pregnant. There are other ways that are cheaper/easier than IVF - like IUI's. Best Wishes!

A little background on me: I just turned 43, and will deliver baby #4 in March (Please God, not on April 1st...;-). I have a two and a half year old daughter, born when I was 40, and two grown sons, ages 21 and 18 (obviously born when I was in my uberfertile 20's!).

From the "It worked for me" file:

Don't go for IVF. It's super expensive, runs a high risk of multiples, and no guarantee, either, just like trying naturally. What seemed to work for me was getting the otc ovulation kits and finding out if I was even ovulating and if so, what was my cycle. I was ovulating, but it was on the days when I felt so crummy and out of sorts that I nearly made my Dh sleep on the couch! LOL It was good for me to recognise how my body was handling ovulation now as a "way grown up" as compared to how it did as a 20-something. What also helped us was to set a loose 12 month limit: Relax, enjoy ourselves, and be okay with the fact that it *may* not happen--we didn't want to force a situation artificially. (honestly, after 8 months of trying for our daughter, I looked at our spare room and started thinking "formal dining room..." and that's when I conceived our daughter. :-) Remember, when we're in our later childbearing years, things sometimes just move a little slower.

How is your back condition going to play into the stresses of pregnancy? Will the kids and Dh pitch in if you're laid up with pain? What does your surgeon think? Will the major surgery repair or just shore up a deteriorating area? Will you be healed in time to manage that toddler who's clamouring for "Upeez!"?

God bless you in your adventures. I am hoping it all works out as wonderfully for you as it has for me. *hugs*

My name is B. Crane from Yonkers NY. i am in facing the same dilema. I have been joining all these groups trying to meet men and even went so far as to join an alcoholic group! lol! so now i got artificial insemination and i turn 40 in february. Also I hear it is a good way to meet men if your single mother.

If you have been having miscarriages, it may be your body telling you that it can't hold a pregnancy anymore. My friend just had her first miscarriage after 7 kids and she is 42. She is beginning to think that maybe her body is telling her to stop. Have you considered a surigate?

Wow, you have gotten some interesting and harsh input here.

I am a 35 yo mom and am pregnant with my 2nd child. It was dramatically harder to get pregnant this time, than it was at 30. However, it can be done-- the natural way! I would highly encourage you to do two things first. Purchase the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility, by Toni Wheeler. It will teach you how to follow your cycle and chart your most fertile times of the month. There is an entire website based on this method: www.ovusoft.com. It will also make it more clear if there are any problems or challenges in your cycle. The second thing you need to do during this time is some soul searching. Trying to have a baby at 40 or later is not an easy undertaking, so making sure that it is what you really want is VERY important. This process will at times push you to your breaking point, and there are no guarantees with anything, so you better want it more than anything!

Most fertility doctors require that you have "tried unsuccessfuly the normal way" for at least 6 months. When it is time to get medical help I HIGHLY recommend seeing a Reproductive Endocrynologist (RE) instead of a regular OB/GYN or fertility doctor. At your age there are many issues and factors to take into account, and an RE covers them all!

This is a very trying and slow process, so I wish you LOTS of patience! People who have not gone through this can be horrible. Keep your own needs and goals in perspective and stay close to your husband. This process can rip you apart if you are not careful! Best Wishes to you for all that you have in front of you! :0)

Hi A. -

I'm pretty certain you were asking for advice on fertility after 40, not whether or not you should have a child after 40... correct? Those who feel they have the right to judge you should be ashamed. There are pros and cons to having a child at any age, but if you and your husband would like to and you are able to have another at 40, I applaud you!

As an 'elderly primagravida' (nice term, hmmm?) I gave birth to my beautiful son at age 44. After I'd had 2 miscarriages, it was thought that I didn't so much have a problem getting pregnant, but staying pregnant. Then after a year of trying the third time, we were referred to a fertility specialist. They did testing on both my husband & I and found nothing that should prevent a pregnancy, so they prescribed a series of hormone injections (to force my cycle) and scheduled an IUI (intra-uterine insemination). For us, it turns out it was all in the timing... we became pregnant on the first try! (Please note: as they say on TV, 'results not typical'.) What I'm trying to say is... there are a number of ways to achieve pregnancy that are far less invasive and expensive than IVF (even for us old folks). That being said, once you are healed & healthy, don't waste too much time trying the 'old-fashioned way' before you seek the help of a specialist. After some fairly simple tests, they can evaluate the pair of you and advise you as to the best course of action.

God bless and good luck!

Hi A.,

Your body goes through immense changes when it comes to fertility, especially in your 30s and definitely into your 40s. It is just much more difficult to get pregnant. I got pregnant easily at 37, but by the time I tried again at 39, we had to use very significant fertility treatments. My understanding is that if you've been trying for 6 months (and you know you are hitting the timing right), you should talk to your OB/GYN. He or she may recommend you see a fertility specialist. They will assess your situation and make recommendations about what to do. When I went in, I thought a little Clomid wold do the trick, but with my fertility's doctor's expertise, we realized we had to go much more extreme than that. Good luck!

Good morning A.,
I am 46 yrs old with 6 kids and 4 granddaughters. All but one are grown and I have a son at the age of soon to be 4 yrs old. I was a single parent up till 4 yrs ago. I also had a lost an ovary and Fallopian tub, the other was tied, burned, otherwise I did not want any more children. I was looking forwardd to be a Grandma and traveling. I love my son dearly, the up side of being a late life mom is the knowledge of raising a child and having access to the Internet and recourses. There are others but not able to think of at this time.
The down side of be a late stage mom is there are more health problems during the pregnant (I spent the hole time in bed)I had a very strict diet. Now I feel very guilty, because my son is slowly becoming disabled. He has a really bad speech problem, have surgery on legs because they turn in and causing problems with walking. He is very smart and learns very quickly.
After you having 3 miscarriages and taking the med's for your back. You may not be able to conceive. I would maybe talk to your doctor and take his recommendation.
Good luck

Well, it is harder to get pregnant the older you get. Eggs age and then have a greater chance of having genetic problems. Also, some women stop ovulating every month as they get older. Miscarriage rates also go up the older you are for a multitude of reasons, but I know several women in their late 30's and early 40's who have had successful pregnancies and healthy babies, so it is possible! I do know someone who was in her late 20's who was having fertilty problems due to a bad back. She could get pregnant, but would miscarry pretty early on. I would suggest getting "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" and start charting to see if you are having multiple early miscarriages. The woman I know had to have pretty extensive physical therapy to get her body to a place where it could carry the baby to term. It worked for her, but she was much younger and didn't need surgery. I would talk to your doctor to see if s/he thinks that your back issues are part of the problem and if s/he thinks ot would be physically safe for you to attempt a pregnancy. I wish you luck!

Hi A.,
With God all things are possible. May He transform your heart for whatever His purposes are that you may be content with everything He has given in your hands knowing exactly how much you can handle, though you may be stretched at times. It sounds like the delay in pregnancy may be a blessing because of your serious back condition. Perhaps after healing takes place, and if it is His will, He will open your womb and grant your your hearts desire.

My mother was 41 at the time I was born, turning 42 that summer. The one thing I would like to encourage you in is to stay connected with your child and the temptations that come. I really started to see my mom as too old fashioned and she didn't understand the things I was going through during my teen years. I felt a huge generational gap. Talk and teach her godly ways. I began to believe many lies, that the struggles in todays world are extremely different than when she was young, however, since coming to faith in Christ, I now know that there is nothing NEW under the sun. The same things people struggled with now, existed in the beginnings of creation. We are no different than they. There are definitely times in history where people lived a degenerate life (the obvious being the times of Noah), and again this cycle is repeating itself if there is no repentance and acknowledgment of sin. I so value the importance as a parent to teach our children, and equipping them with godly wisdom and knowledge on how to defeat the enemy of our soul.

It does not sound like a good idea whilst facing back surgery and recovery to attempt a pregnancy. Have you considered becoming a foster parent? There are so many kids out there that need a loving caring mother that you sound like you could be to a child needing love. My step dad had his son at the age of 50 ( his wife really wanted another baby) and while the pregnancy (his wife was 45) went well, the teenage years of my sweet step brother were nothing they would want to live through again. It is one thing to be the 40 or 50 year old parent of a new baby, quite another to be the 65 or 70 year old parent of a young man in his teens. As terrible as it sounds, I believe my step dad and even his wife, really began to resent the demands a child placed on them as the years went by. Their ability to be tolerant,patient and able to carry on the normal parenting deal as their lives changed and they got older was really a challenge. My brother is now in his 20's and my step dad is nearly 80. It just does not work well for them. My brother really resented having parents at school that were as old if not older than everyone's grandparents, not to mention the physical limitations. Sounds selfish but retirement was not spent relaxing and visiting the grandchildren, it was staying home so the son could finish high school and do his homework. His real mom died from health issues when she was almost 60 but my step brother was still a young boy...When my widowed mother married my step dad, all of her kids and his, had children that were older than their "son"...it was very strange for my step brother. He says now, he always felt like he was being raised by his grandparents. I am sure you get the picture. Anyway, none of my business but farther down the road, the complications are many. Does your full plate have a spot to start the parenting cycle over? ( If you are serious, a friend of mine used those ovulation detection dip stick things...had success because she found she was ovulating at very different times than she thought.)

Good luck to you. I am sure you have good reasons to want a teenager when you are in your 50's even if others question your sanity. I had my last at 36 and I am surviving quite well. Have you tried tracking your temperature to determine when (if) you are ovulating? You should also have an egg white like mucus vaginal discharge, may be a little - may be more, at the same time. The medications you may be taking for your back could interfere with ovulation. Again, good luck.

Hello A.!!!

I wish you the best at getting pregnant. I'll be 40 in a couple of weeks. I would love to have one more little one. Just one.

Anyway, I feel that you are having difficulties because you are getting older and you do have a back issue. If I were you, I'd start taking massage therapy (if at all possible). Your body (I'm positive) is going through a lot. But there's a positive to this. I was told by my chiropractor that after a few visits, helps to get you body on track and some of the women the doctor knows ended up getting pregnant.

I would allow my back to recover, first, then think about massages, or if you could do them now, then maybe that's a good idea. I just feel that your body IS stressed out and needs a little help with becoming more relaxed. Anything is possible! Try to get your body to relax. Take time out for yourself. Make a date night with your husband. Go to the Seattle Sheraton, any hotel that you feel safe in. Your kids don't even need to know where you 2 are going. Go to the movies together. Go ride your bikes in West Seattle. Anything non stressful would be great for you and your body!

I wish you the best of luck!

Hi there. I'm 38 and just gave birth to a sweet baby girl in July after trying for almost 5 years. We are a lot less fertile as we get older. I tried Chlomephene (fertility drug)and artificial insemination thru my OB/GYN at Kaiser for 6 months 3 years ago, but it didn't work. I also tried acupuncture and herbs. I had a regular cycle and knew I ovulated. My Dr. at Kaiser gave me a referral to a fertility specialist, but I never went. My cousin had trouble getting pregnant and went to the same specialist and was successful. Finally last March I decided to go to the specialist. I had to go thru a lot of testing and they couldn't find anything wrong with me. I was diagnosed with unexplained infertility. Nothing was wrong with my husband either. The specialist had me try the Chlomephene Challenge to see how I responded to the drug. I responded well and had several mature egg folicles, so he decided to do a round of artificial insemination (in-utero fertilization). It worked, but when I went in for my 6 week ultrasound, the embryo wasn't growing and I miscarried. After getting on a regular cycle again, we tried Chlomephene, and with ultrasounds, blood tests and a HCG Shot (to stimulate ovulation) on day 13 of my cycle I then had artificial insemination again. On the 3rd month of these cycles it worked!!! I went to the Portland Center for Reproductive Medicine and my doctor was Dr. Hesla. You see several doctors when you're there as you need to be seen when your body is ready for the procedures. All of the doctors there are great and all of the staff are wonderful, caring and empathetic. I would highly recommend going there for at least a consult and they can give you all of your options. IVF isn't necessarily the only option to you. Good Luck!!!


38 year old mom of a 6 1/2 month girl

Hi there, I married in 2000 at the age of 30 and wanted kids by the time I was 35 - had no idea how hard it would be! We ended up going through IVF (triplets born in 2005) and what I was told was that as we age, we drop eggs less regularly - often multiple eggs one month then only one the next...totally unpredictable but that is how some older moms end up with multiples after trying forever.

IVF is expensive so if you haven't tried the new fertility meds out there - there are some that are pretty agressive - I have known 3 couples who have had successful pregnancies on the meds alone. IVF was a great experience for us and though it was a triplet pregnancy, I delivered at 35 years old and the kids had no complications.

Hi, A.! I got pregnant at 37 (now 38 with darling 6-week old boy). I did an acupuncture treatment to strengthen my reproductive system. Long story short, I charted and then when ready, timed my treatment to when I knew I would be ovulating. Within 3 hours of treatment I was gushing with cervical fluid. 8 days later I had a positive test! If you want more info, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Good luck!

I'm the same age and just had a baby recently. Two great books are: Your pregnancy after 35, and Taking charge of your fertility. Both of which are at the library most likely. Hope it helps, and good luck!

Your chances of getting pregnant diminish drastically each year after the age of 30...not that it can't be done, but it gets harder. By 40, you have about a 5% chance. You should discuss this with your OB/GYN. If you are relatively healthy and haven't smoked, drunk alcohol heavily, used drugs or have any chronic health problems, getting pregnant may be safe for you. After 35 or so, the chances of having a child with chromosomal abnormalities (i.e. Down syndrome) or other birth defects starts to rise, as well as the risk of preterm delivery and miscarriage, so you must also take this into consideration. I would strongly urge you to discuss all this with your OB/GYN so that you can be informed about the risks of "advanced maternal age" and weigh the risks yourself. My personal opinion is that (at your age) if it doesn't happen without help, Nature is telling you not to.

I absolutely ditto the person who said to get Taking Charge of Your Fertility, by Toni Wheeler. It has so much great information about fertility, aging, and how your hormones/menstrual cycle work. I would suggest reading it and then charting your cycles as described in the book to see if there's a problem like late ovulation, short LP, etc. You can start doing that now, and the information can help you decide if you just need to try the old fashioned way or see a specialist right away. www.ovusoft.com has some very helpful people on it.

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