Getting Pregnant in Your 40s

Updated on February 15, 2018
Butterfly67 profile image

I started trying to conceive in my early 40s. After a miscarriage (and endless research) I finally had my baby at age 46.

Can I Get Pregnant in My Forties?

This is a question that, if you have found this page, you may be asking of yourself and indeed, I also wondered this. I spent a long time investigating this issue when it came into my mind that at the age of 43, I was finally ready to have a child.

Whether it is your first child, or you already have a child or children from a previous or current relationship, the issue is the same: is it too late to have a child in your forties? For me it was a case of not really being too bothered about having children, particularly in my twenties. In my thirties I did think about it briefly when I was in a stable relationship, but it turned out not to be the right time. Now that I had reached 43, and was not in a relationship, I figured it was my time, albeit possibly too late.

Many women are successful in having a baby in their 40s
Many women are successful in having a baby in their 40s | Source

Fertility Levels in Women Over 40

Anyway, I did a lot of researching about the levels of fertility in women over 40. It seems like there is a big difference between trying to conceive at age 40 and conceiving at age 43. The chances seem to drop drastically after age 40. However, as much as I investigated, I couldn’t find any consensus on the actual statistical chances, which ranged from 5% to 38%. I guess it is difficult to conduct a decent study when you need to find people who are actually trying to get pregnant at that age. Of course in studies like that are you also going to catch people who are not trying but do accidentally get pregnant when they are over 40?

So, I suppose that what you need to know, if you think you might be pregnant, or you just want to get pregnant, is that there is a chance. What more really do you need to know than that? Although it is sometimes useful to know statistics, you don't know on which side of the statistics you will fall if there are some positives and some negatives.

If there is a chance, then you are going to try, right? As long as you are still having regular periods then that is a good start. OK so maybe if you know what the actual chances are then you can build your hopes and expectations accordingly but let’s face it, we all know that the chances of getting pregnant at 43 are less than those at 40 and significantly less than the chances of conceiving in your thirties and knowing that they are slim is not going to stop us trying.

The Bad News

What you also need to know is that the chances of miscarriage in your 40s are hugely increased, so even if you do manage to get pregnant then be aware of this fact. I have heard that as many as 30% of pregnancies of women aged 43 miscarry. Although this is worrying, as long as you are conscious of this then you can also prepare yourself for any possible eventuality.

Added to that is the possibility of birth defects, which is also much higher in women over 40. Then there is the decision as to whether or not to have an amniocentesis to check for Down's Syndrome and whether this will even matter to you. It is for sure more stressful to try to have a baby over 40 so you need to be well informed of the possible situations that may occur.

The Good News

Well the good news is that it really is possible to get pregnant at 43. There are a few things that you need to think about - firstly it is going to take longer than it might do otherwise - but don't let this put you off, as long as it is still possible then you have a chance every month.

Take Action

One main thing though, if you decide to start trying to get pregnant at 43 is to do everything that you can to help yourself and do it as quickly as possible. There are a lot of supplements that you can take and things that you can use to increase your chances and possibly increase the quality of your eggs.

Make sure you have all of your testing done as soon as possible. Your doctor can check your hormone levels to ensure that you are still ovulating and you can get your tubes checked too to make sure there are no blockages.

Doctors will usually check you out within 6 months of starting to try to get pregnant, so get yourself checked out as soon as you hit that milestone (if you can't before).

You should also get your partner checked out with a Semen Analysis. Even if he has kids from a previous relationship then his levels could have changed in the interim. Having said that, if the results are not so good there are things that he can do to make them better.

And lastly, good luck and have fun! :-)

Book Recommended By A Reader

Coming to Term: Uncovering the Truth About Miscarriage
Coming to Term: Uncovering the Truth About Miscarriage

This book was recommended by a reader (see comments below by 'worthitx2') as highly recommended to anyone who has suffered a miscarriage, which seems like a large percentage of those who are over 40, if not all people trying to get pregnant.

 

The book above is also available from Amazon UK and you can find it here.

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    • profile image

      Liana2020 

      4 weeks ago

      Oh I will this time. It will be a finicail hardship to pay for daycare and I won’t recover from that for a long time. As this child will be 20 when I am 65. So the years of motheing that I did when I was young hampered my ability to work and to create income. The last few years when I could work finally got us a little finicail sucuriety we own our own home but it is a struggle to raise kids on one income mine was mostly bits of part time.i think that is also I big difference for women who didn’t have kids young they can work and establish themselves. Also if you have one kid it’s completly different demand on you mentally and physically then a few kids . That mothers of one child won’t understand that. I talked to another mom my age and she she said she would just die as she is just begging to enjoy kid free time that or murder her husband if she was pregnant late in life.

    • Butterfly67 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Grant 

      4 weeks ago from UK

      That makes total sense Liana. Can you go back to work and get childcare for your baby? Many women do go back to work quite quickly if that is what suits them. You don't have to be a stay at home mom if that is not what is right for you.

    • profile image

      Liana2020 

      4 weeks ago

      It has been good to talk to other women who had kids younger they get how hard this is because it would be a nightmare for them too. I think it has to do with longing I longed for so many years to have a job and not be viewed as just a mom ,so many people look down on young moms and to finally have meaningful work and sleep at night it just felt like so sad to go back to siting at the pArk all day and changing diapers . I think for women who have worked and gotten kudos for that Might feel opposite they begin to long for a baby as much as I began to long for an identity of my own beyond mothering. So I think becoming pregnant at the age is experienced as a loss and I’m in mourning.

    • profile image

      Liana2020 

      5 weeks ago

      Oh they will my husband does a lot of the work. I just know way to much! Pregnancy is so irritating and giving birth terriable! two years before someone sleeps through the night, helping kids make friends all the things you need to teach then from swimming to reading to sewing to hiking, discipline,temper tantrum all the teen years I’ve just done it all and done it really well. I just have left it all on the track

    • Butterfly67 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Grant 

      5 weeks ago from UK

      Liana yes that must be pretty difficult - like you say it is not often that someone struggles with over fertility, particularly at that age. I totally get that it must be hard to find somewhere to express what you are going through. I hope you get lots of help and support from your family so that it is not too overwhelming when the baby arrives and maybe they can take on some of the work x

    • profile image

      Liana2020 

      5 weeks ago

      Hoping to come around. My husband kids and extended family could not handle me giving a child up . It’s their sibling and they are excited. I just see no were to express my feelings it’s just moms who spent all the 20 and 30 child free and now want a baby or people who struggle with infertility. But no one who struggles with being more fertile then they can quite handel. I’m also irritated with all the stats saying how hard it is to get pregnant at 45 i had protected sex once that month because my husband was away the rest of the time. No one understands what it’s like to work so hard raising kids when I was young and the sacrifice ( time , money, education,sleep,work,vacation) it took to have to do it all again at 46 just seems so overwhelming.

    • Butterfly67 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Grant 

      5 weeks ago from UK

      Hi Liana, I guess if you really don't want to keep the child then there are other options. There are many people out there wanting to give a baby a new home if you are really against having another child. Whatever your decision I wish you the best and hope you make peace with what you decide x

    • profile image

      Liana2020 

      5 weeks ago

      Yes except i’ve already have raised 4 kids who are greAt. So I’m tired of raising kids my energy and my interest are gone .I’m not interested in doing all the things that need to be done as a parent I’m tired of it and want to enjoy watching my children enter into the world indepent of me. I really disliked the baby toddler stage because of how much I work it is . So that’s exactly what I’m not looking forward too is when the baby is here. I have a trauma response to all baby gear my husband has said he’ll buy it and hide because it I can’t even look at it without hyperventilating

    • Butterfly67 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Grant 

      5 weeks ago from UK

      Hi Liana2020, I guess that does go to show that it can still happen at age 40 and people still need to take precautions at that age. If you are feeling very tired then maybe at some point you can have your iron/thyroid levels checked as you shouldn't be overly tired for no reason (unless you have other reasons for being tired!). I'm sure once the baby is here you will feel differently. I also was pregnant at 45 and delivered at 46 but don't think age has held me back at all in terms of energy so I hope you feel the same eventually! Good luck x

    • profile image

      Liana2020 

      5 weeks ago

      Accidently pregnant at 45 will deliver at 46 not happy about it I’m wa y to old and tired

    • Butterfly67 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Grant 

      7 weeks ago from UK

      Hi khanya, I think the best person to speak to about the risks of having a 5th is your doctor or other medical professional.

    • profile image

      khanya 

      7 weeks ago

      I have 4 kids and my husband want the fifth one,I gave birth to them by operation,and I am 40 yrs,what are the risks? plz help

    • profile image

      nikki 

      2 months ago

      kamedra yes. it is not to late. your doctor can bring your periods back. also metformin will bring it back. but i do warn you if you are skinny i would not take. i am skinny and it made me even skinnier, but my period came back within 2 weeks

    • Butterfly67 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Grant 

      4 months ago from UK

      Hi kamandefra, if your periods have stopped then it is possible that you have stopped ovulating and are entering menopause. You should get checked out by your doctor and they can advise you if this is the case. If so then the only option may be donor egg IVF.

    • profile image

      kamandefra 

      4 months ago

      Thank alot all. Am 45 years and a half old, i have been trying to get pregnant is it possible? My periods ceased at the age of 44 years old. Please advice.

    • profile image

      emma spencer 

      10 months ago

      Chances are always low once you cross 40. I am 44 years old. Tried possibly my best to conceive at this age. Even though with numerous of doctors and medications.

      We spent almost all of our savings to have baby. Without baby our life seems empty. I feel emotionally scattered and mentally tired. At first I felt my husband frustration towards me but then we talked through it. Due to hormonal imbalance which caused abrupt weight gain and fatigue I am unable to get pregnant. We are considering other options as well. But we are keen to have genetically ours baby. I never thought it would be this difficult. Searching through internet reading other women stories makes me sympathetic. I wish it could be cured for women like us. Who have crossed 40.

    • Butterfly67 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Grant 

      3 years ago from UK

      I guess it only takes once sue!

    • profile image

      sue 

      3 years ago

      my husband and i had sex only once and i got pregnant at the age of 43...

    • Butterfly67 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Grant 

      5 years ago from UK

      Yes I definitely found that I ovulated earlier as I got older. Also cervical mucus can be a good guide to when you might ovulate but is good to combine with ovulation tests and maybe even temping. Sorry to hear about your mc, I also had one at 44.

    • profile image

      Anonymous 

      5 years ago

      I got surprise pregancy at 41 first time and mc but I think after ur age being in 40s ur hormone & fsh level get higher and also u may be ovulating earlier than normal in 20s and 30s. I think more accurately way to get pregancy is to do ur cervix mucus with ur finger to find out if your ovulating or not How? Read and explore and study u will be amaze what u learn.

    • Butterfly67 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Grant 

      5 years ago from UK

      Kedi I think it would be a good idea to get checked out by your doctor then. It is possible that you may not be ovulating if you are not having your periods but maybe something like clomid will help to put this right.

    • profile image

      kedi 

      5 years ago

      43

      will be 43 on november and i need a baby girl the problem is my period i can take a year without seing it

    • Gabby McMahon profile image

      Gabby McMahon 

      5 years ago from Ennis, Co Clare, Ireland

      great article! getting pregnant can be a lengthy and frustrating experience at any age unfortunately. Baby dust to all those trying

    • Butterfly67 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Grant 

      6 years ago from UK

      Hi hello43, have you had any tests done? It would be worth having your day 3 and day 21 blood tests done to check your hormone levels plus a semen analysis for your husband. If you have had these done and they are ok then you may just need to try for a bit longer. Make sure you are having sex during your fertile time by knowing exactly when you are ovulating and maybe try every other day during that time so that the sperm get a chance to rebuild supplies but at the same time they are still fresh. Good luck.

    • profile image

      hello43 

      6 years ago

      I am 43 I have been reading your comments and they are helpful. My husband and I want a baby I have been trying a year, I have taken all of the prenate vitamins that my Dr have given me. What else should I do

    • profile image

      Nhlaks 

      6 years ago

      Thanks very much for ur comforting words,my hope is back now. U knw everyday im reading the tips to fall preg easily, and age issue all that worry me. I even read the preg signs and check if i dnt have any. Sometyms i think it caused by having first baby in 30s. Again thanks for advise.

    • Butterfly67 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Grant 

      6 years ago from UK

      Hi Nhlaks, yes indeed you have a good chance, especially as you know you can get pregnant. It just might take a bit longer this time so try and be patient. But really you have a good chance and compared to some you still have plenty of years in front of you. Good luck.

    • profile image

      Nhlaks 

      6 years ago

      Im 38 have 6yrs son,im trying for baby from 2010 no lucky,im stressed cause my age is bad,is there any chances,

    • Butterfly67 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Grant 

      6 years ago from UK

      Hi purplered, I'm so sorry for your losses too. It is indeed heartbreaking and I guess we have to decide how much we can take. I did a whole lot of investigating on what vitamins to take to improve egg quality and I wrote an article about it which you can find here: https://hubpages.com/health/How-To-Improve-the-Qua...

      I am currently taking CoQ10, maca and melatonin. I used royal jelly and bee pollen for a couple of months before I got pregnant. I haven't tried the DHEA yes as I feel like I am taking enough but I know a few ladies that are taking it and have even been recommended it by their fertility specialists.

      I wish you the best of luck if you do decide to try again. x

    • profile image

      Purplered 

      6 years ago

      Butterfly

      First, I am so sorry for your loss. I have had three miscarriages 1 at 9 weeks and 2 at 5 weeks in the last year and half. It is so heartbreaking.

      I am thinking of trying one more time before giving up. Can you tell me what vitamins you are taking to increase egg quality?

    • Butterfly67 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Grant 

      6 years ago from UK

      Hi angel4 I am so sorry for your loss. I am not a doctor but I understand that the chances of this happening again are minuscule. Sending you my best wishes. X

    • profile image

      angel4 

      6 years ago

      hi all . im 42 i have 3 boys age 24,21,2 ad a half ad got preganat 9 months after my little boy .i was told i was having a baby girl ad was over the moon, until 37 weeks i was told my baby died at 37 weeks so hard ..i am trying again but if i get preganatcould this happen again...

    • Butterfly67 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Grant 

      6 years ago from UK

      Hi Worthitx2, thanks for that, I found the book on Amazon so have added a link to it in the article. x

    • profile image

      Worthitx2 

      6 years ago

      Hi Butterfly67, thanks for your lovely note, just to confirm the book is 'Coming to Term, Uncovering the Truth about Miscarriage'.

      Rather than written by a dr, its written by Jon Cohen, a Science Correspondent, whose has been a parent of multiple miscarriages himself, and as a result of what happened to him and his wife, decided to take the plunge into the vast cavern of the relatively unknown world of miscarriage - the book is scientific, emotional and personal, with case studies, his scientific interviews, and his own story.... think I bought it on Amazon.

      Meanwhile, I'm still going to the loo, and expecting to find blood on the tissue.... jeez. Take care Butterfly67, hang in there, you just never know. X

    • Butterfly67 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Grant 

      6 years ago from UK

      Worthitx2 I just want to say thanks so much for your post that really moved me and I wish you good luck. I will try and find a link to the book you have recommended. X

    • profile image

      Worthitx2 

      6 years ago

      Its such a journey we girls have to go on. I had a beautiful baby, no problems, at 38. Fell pregnant almost straight away.

      I then went on to suffer 3 miscarriages. Each seemed to get more horrendous as I lost each one a few more weeks into the pregnancy, had loads of sickness with them too (some say that's a good sign - I say it makes no difference!)

      Finally at 42 years old, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. No Downs, no probs.

      Now I'm 43 and I'm 2 days late.... I know the odds are less than 10% now for a live birth at my age, 43, probably a lot less with 3 miscarriages behind me, so I'm trying to prepare myself for a realistic re-take of what I know is likely to happen. Its great to be optimistic but miscarriage is a harsh reality.

      For anyone who has suffered miscarriage or is trying to get pregnant I do recommend a book called 'Coming to Term'. Its brilliant with loads of insight and cuts to the chase, written by somone we can relate to.

      Good luck to you,ladies, when you look at the stats, its a miracle with all the hurdles anyone gets pregnant but we do. You can't alter your age, its out of our hands, all you can do is try.

    • Butterfly67 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Grant 

      6 years ago from UK

      Hi sadiegirl. Unfortunately I am no longer pregnant as I miscarried at 8 and a half weeks. Now my cycles are back to normal I am trying again and hope I manage to get one that sticks. Yes I did conceive naturally. I hope you also get pregnant again and get your baby. I think it is just down to our age that we are more likely to miscarry. Best of luck. X

    • profile image

      sadiegirl 

      6 years ago

      Hi Butterfly. I have gotten pregnant twice. Once at 41yr and once at 42 yr. both naturally, both miscarriages. In a previous post you mentioned that you conceived at 44yr. Are you still pregnant? Did you conceive naturally?

    • Butterfly67 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Grant 

      6 years ago from UK

      Hi Susan, I'm so sorry about your miscarriage and how difficult you are finding it. It sucks that it can take us so long to get pregnant at this age and then even when we do the stress is not over. I really hope you get to have a full term baby. Chances are that if you have managed to get pregnant once then you can again but the question we have to ask ourselves is how long we keep trying for as more often than not it is going to take a while. I wish you the best of luck.

    • profile image

      Susan 

      6 years ago

      I too am 43, had a miscarriage at 12 weeks last year, and so want another baby, but finding it so difficult :( every time my period is late I get all excited only to feel let down when it comes, been trying for 8 months now and nothing, begining to feel its not gonna happen.

    • Butterfly67 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Grant 

      6 years ago from UK

      Thanks mumx5 what a great story. I have to say I agree you hear more about problems but no so much about the many successes. I take inspiration from your story. X

    • profile image

      mumx5 

      6 years ago

      after 4 children with my husband of 17 years, I thought my family was complete. After he left I met someone, who was younger and he wanted a child. After 2 years together I thought I'd let mother nature decide if it was meant to be. I fell pregnant the first month after having my IUD removed! Unfortunately we lost this one at 9 weeks but I fell pregnant again within a month, but again losing at 11 weeks this time. 2 months later I was pregnant again and went on to have a beautiful baby girl 5 days after my 43rd birthday. I read all the stats about conceiving over 40 and warned him that it might not happen, but where do they get these from? Mainly from those who come forward with problems, who may have had problems in their 30s and 20s anyway. If you're fit and health, give it a try. I conceived 3 times in 10 months. My daughter is perfect. She walked at 9 months and at 11months is already saying her first words!!

      If you worry too much, you put pressure on yourself and your body and you take the fun out of your relationship. You can time things perfectly but after 5 kids I know that the timings isn't always as you expect, number 4 was a result of avoiding my fertile time!!!! The key is, to have sex as often as possible. Don't put all the emphasis onto one or two days, make it fun, relax, enjoy and await the results...Good luck girls xxx

    • Butterfly67 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Grant 

      6 years ago from UK

      Why do you say that sue? There are plenty of women getting pregnant at 43 but it just might take a bit longer.

    • profile image

      sue 

      6 years ago

      im 43 and its totally impossible

    • Butterfly67 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Grant 

      6 years ago from UK

      Hi gill, the most important thing is to get your timing right. You need to know when you ovulate to know when the best timing is to have sex. Check out my other article on 'when will I ovulate' for more info. If you have been trying for a year to get pregnant then you can go and see your doctor for some tests to check everything is working. Good luck.

    • profile image

      Gill 

      6 years ago

      I am 29 yrs and i am suffuring to get prenant i need help

    • Butterfly67 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Grant 

      6 years ago from UK

      So after 10 months of trying I got pregnant at the age of 44. This was after a poor SA report but with both of us taking vitamins and supplements to improve egg and sperm quality.

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