What Are the Chances of Getting Pregnant at 44?
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 learnt about the particular struggles of trying to get pregnant at 44.
It Is 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, there needs to be 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 but as long as you have not hit the menopause, which would be pretty early at age 44.) Although 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 a natural pregnancy at 44 and in truth it must be difficult to actually gather this information as those who are trying to conceive are unlikely to be monitored on whether they succeed or not.
Generally the only information that you can get, that is accurate, is the rate of getting pregnant at 44 using IVF because all of the fertility clinics obviously keep a strict record of their success rates.
The latest results available from the HFEA (the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority, which is the regulatory body for the UK) quotes a success (i.e. a live birth rate) of 4.4% for patients aged 43 and above who attempt IVF using their own eggs.
But, whatever the statistics may say, it is possible to get pregnant naturally, and I was pregnant at 44 myself.
The Main Barrier to Getting Pregnant at 44
The one big barrier to getting pregnant at 44 is said to be 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.
There have been some studies done on various supplements that may help to improve egg quality (see this article for more information) so if you are just starting on your journey it is may be worth trying some of these supplements to do the best that you can for your chances.
Risk of Miscarriage
It can't be denied that at the age of 44, even if you manage to get pregnant, there is a high risk of miscarriage. 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 that then went on to have healthy babies in their mid forties so just because you have one miscarriage does not mean that the same thing will happen again.
Many doctors will start carrying out some standard fertility testing only 6 months after you have started trying, once you are over the age of 35. Of course if you can get the main tests done sooner you will be in more of a position to know how your body is working.
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 home FSH test (see the item below) which can be an indicator or 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.
This is a really simple and cheap FSH test that you can take at home.
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 2 ladies right now who are pregnant with an FSH of over 25.
Another key test is the HSG which checks if your tubes are clear. I did not get round to getting the HSG because I got pregnant just before getting that organised so I knew that the sperm could meet the egg OK.
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 this test as they do not believe it has credibility.
The Holistic Approach
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.
Acupuncture is also a very popular approach and there are specific fertility acupuncture practitioners who will work withing your cycle.
Sometimes it seems that many doctors, when they know your age, will advise you to go straight to IUI or IVF as they believe this may give you a better chance of getting pregnant. Although the stats are slightly better with these methods than natural pregnancy, the odds are still low. Often donor egg will be recommended which can increase the chances but still do not give any certainty.
For some people medical intervention of this kind is not on the cards as the costs are too high and so natural pregnancy is the only option. 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.
In any case, get your doctor on your side and ask them to do as many tests as they are able. Don't forget to also get your partner's sperm tested to make sure there is not an issue there.
The Chances of Getting Pregnant at 44
Anyway, so back to the question in hand. Obviously the answer depends a lot on how your body is working. But, there is a reasonable chance in my experience. I got pregnant after 9 tries (starting when I was 43) and although it ended in miscarriage.
I also know of a number of ladies who have got pregnant at 44 and of course a number of ladies that have been trying for quite a while and are still not pregnant. What I would say is, if it is possible, try not to put too much pressure on yourself for it to work straight away. By all means do all that you can to maximise 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