What Are the Chances of Getting Pregnant at 44?
Is It Possible to Get Pregnant at 44?
Firstly, I want to start with the positives. It is very possible to get pregnant at 44. Now, obviously, I must add a few caveats to this statement. You will need to still be having regular periods (although they don't need to be the same length each cycle.) More than that, you need to be ovulating (although you can get help with this if not.) There may also be other medical issues that might need looking into.
The negative side is that it may take you much longer than it would have done in your 20s or 30s. So you may need to have some patience. There are a lot of different statistics cited for conception at 44 with IVF but in truth, it is difficult to find information about natural conception at this age because the women in this group are unlikely to be monitored, whether they succeed or not.
Getting Pregnant in Your 40s
When you are in your 40s and trying to get pregnant, you are often told that the chances are pretty slim. Those who already have children have to put up with comments from people asking them why they are still trying for another child at their age, but only people in their shoes can know the longing that they may have for another child.
For those who have not had children before, you may enter the world of trying to conceive with some naivety—perhaps expecting to get pregnant right away. In any case, I will try to put forth here what I have learned about the particular struggles of trying to get pregnant at 44.
What Are the Chances of Getting Pregnant at 44 Naturally?
The truth is that conception at 44 is rare no matter which statistics you look at.
- The success rate is about 3% per menstrual cycle, which means that out of 100 fertile women who try to conceive in one cycle, 3 will be successful. The success rate drops to below 1% after 44 years of age.
- In another study, 5% of women age 43 or 44 who used their own eggs in IVF treatment became pregnant and carried to term. In the same study, 56% of patients using donor eggs in IVF treatment were successful regardless of age.
- Results for 2016 from the HFEA (the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority, which is the regulatory body for the UK), show a success (i.e. a live birth rate) of 3% for patients aged 43-44 who attempt IVF using their own eggs.
But whatever the statistics may say, it is possible to get pregnant naturally. I was pregnant at 44 myself.
How to Boost Your Chances of Getting Pregnant at 44
As I said, I was able to get pregnant at 44. It's possible! And there are steps you can take to increase the likelihood of conception.
"It is important that she is looking for ovulation at the right time," says Dr. John Thoppil, an ObGyn in Austin. "As a woman ages, it is common for cycle length to shorten. This usually means earlier ovulation. I would encourage the use of an ovulation predictor kit to ensure she is not missing her fertile window."
The optimal timing for intercourse is every 1-2 days of sex during the fertile window.
You only need a little bit of this lubricant to create a more sperm-friendly environment in your vagina. Keep in mind that commercial lubricants are unfriendly to sperm. If you go this route, use Pre-Seed or Conceive Plus. I was using when I got pregnant. I chose it because it was a bit cheaper than Pre-Seed. Conceive Plus
A formula called FertilityBlend has been shown in studies to help women conceive. The mixture contains folic acid, vitamins B-6, B-12, C, and E, iron, magnesium, selenium, and zinc. It also includes the herb chasteberry, which is widely used in Chinese medicine to encourage ovulation, green tea extract, which is believed to be an antioxidant, and L-arginine, which was shown in a recent study to enhance conception in fertility patients.
Many women prefer to take the holistic approach to trying to get pregnant and there are many resources available in this regard. Many believe that there is a mental element to getting pregnant and that the mind is somehow blocking the body. Relaxation, moderate exercise, and a good diet are great ways to keep your body healthy and your mind at ease.
Acupuncture is also a very popular approach and there are specific fertility acupuncture practitioners who will work with you to bring your body to its optimum fertility.
Improving Egg Quality Between 40 and 44
The one big barrier to getting pregnant in your early 40s is egg quality. It is well documented that egg quality declines with age (you only need to compare the statistics between someone who has done IVF in their 40s and someone who has done it in their 20s to see the difference in the number and quality of eggs produced) and for this reason it is important to do as much as we can to improve egg quality.
"Unfortunately, a woman is born with all the eggs she is ever going to have," says Dr. Thoppil. "The quality of the eggs declines for every person. Genetics probably play a role here. However we can optimize other risk factors: don't smoke, be of normal weight, and eat a healthy diet."
Research confirms that some lifestyle changes can help make conception more likely. The supplement coenzyme Q10, a naturally occurring enzyme required for energy metabolism, may have some positive benefits on egg quality.
There is no universally accepted "fertility diet" but studies do show that meat consumption is bad for ovulation function. The study specifically found that red meat, chicken, and turkey were problematic. Instead, this diet is recommended:
Low trans-fat and more monounsaturated fats
Low animal protein and more vegetable protein
High-fiber, low glycemic carbs
High-fat dairy products
High iron intake (from plants, not meat)
Using Donor Eggs
If you are older, especially if you’re over 42, and have not succeeded with other therapies, or if you have premature ovarian failure (POF) (also known as early menopause), your treatment options are limited.
Egg donation, which involves the use of eggs donated by another woman typically in her 20s or early 30s, is highly successful. The high success rate with egg donation confirms that egg quality associated with age is the primary barrier to pregnancy in older women. If you are over 40, your chance of successful pregnancy is much higher in IVF cycles using donor eggs, but many couples or single women in their early 40s will choose to accept the lower chance of becoming pregnant and use their own eggs. By age 43, the chance of becoming pregnant through IVF is less than 5%, and by age 45, use of donor eggs is the only reasonable alternative.
Risk of Miscarriage
It can't be denied that at the age of 44, even if you manage to get pregnant, there is a higher risk of miscarriage than there is for younger ladies. At 44 the loss rate is over 50%, according to Dr. Thoppil.
Unfortunately, my own pregnancy at 44 ended in a blighted ovum miscarriage. Of course, you may be lucky and hit that good egg the first time, but it might be worth bearing this in mind although obviously, you shouldn't let this stop you trying.
I do know of a number of ladies who had one or more miscarriages who then went on to have healthy babies in their mid-40s, so just because you have one miscarriage does not mean that the same thing will happen again.
Finding Out if You Are Perimenopausal
If you are over 35, many doctors will recommend fertility testing 6 months after you have started trying. The big test is the FSH test, which is said to tell how near the menopause you are. A high FSH (25 or over) is said to be near menopause. I did a , which can be an indicator of your fertility. It does not give you an exact figure like the test you get at the doctor, but instead a degree of color on a test strip). The home test I did looked OK and when I did get my FSH results my number was 7.6, which equated reasonably well to the home test that I did. home FSH test
However, do not despair if you have a high FSH as all is not lost. FSH can differ from cycle to cycle for a start. It can also be affected by stress. Also, I know of two ladies right now who are pregnant with an FSH of over 25.
Testing Your Fallopian Tubes
Another key test is the HSG, which checks if your fallopian tubes are clear. I did not get around to getting the HSG because I got pregnant, so I knew that the sperm could meet the egg.
Another test is the AMH test, which is said to test egg reserves but this is a very controversial test and many doctors will not do it as they do not believe it has credibility.
Getting Sperm Tested
While your age is an issue if you're 44, it's worth exploring whether your partner's sperm is in good condition as well. As long as you're doing so much to optimize your chances of getting pregnant, it makes sense for him to be tested too.
A doctor may ask for a sperm sample to analyze. They may also ask about recreational drug use, exercise, and sexual function. It will likely get really personal, but if he is really supportive of your effort to get pregnant, he'll do it.
IVF and Other Medical Interventions
Sometimes it seems that many doctors, when they know your age, will advise you to go straight to IUI (intra-uterine insemination) or IVF as they believe this may give you a better chance of getting pregnant. Often donor egg will be recommended, which can increase the chances often to more than 50% but still does not give any certainty. There are other options. Clomid is a pill that a doctor can prescribe to aid ovulation (particularly if you are having trouble ovulating) and that has been used successfully for many women.
For some people, medical interventions of this kind are not on the cards as the costs are too high and so natural pregnancy is the only option.
In any case, get your doctor on your side and ask them to do as many tests as they are able.
My Experience Getting Pregnant at 44
I got pregnant after 9 tries (starting when I was 43) and although it ended in miscarriage. I also know a number of ladies who got pregnant at 44 and of course a number of ladies who have been trying for quite a while and are still not pregnant. What I would say is, try not to put too much pressure on yourself for it to work straight away. By all means, do all that you can to maximize your chances from the beginning (in particular find out exactly when you are ovulating), but try not to obsess every month over whether it has worked or not.
I wish you all the best of luck and lots of baby dust. xxx
© 2012 Jackie Grant