What Are The Chances of Getting Pregnant in Your Late 40s?
Getting Pregnant in Your Late 40s
Although women have often in the past got pregnant naturally well into their 40s, mostly this has been in their early 40s and once they get past 45 this has got a bit more tricky.
There are many more women today who may want to get pregnant later in life and due to circumstances, often beyond their control, are trying to get pregnant in their late 40s.
The typically quoted cut-off age for getting pregnant naturally is age 45, which is when our bodies start to enter the period prior to the menopause, called peri-menopause.
Many women don't actually realise that it is still possible to get pregnant during the peri-menopause and assume that their fertile days are over. You may find that your periods become more irregular and possibly your cycle will become shorter but in most cases you are still ovulating which makes it possible to get pregnant.
Menopause or Pregnancy?
So this is where confusion may come in. It may be the fact that as we get into our late 40s, the peri-menopause starts to set in for some women and they experience symptoms similar to that of being pregnant.
Periods may stop or suddenly be late and women may experience backache, bloating, and generally pregnancy-like symptoms (particularly if they have been pregnant before and recognise these signs).
This can lead some people to think that they are pregnant when they are entering the menopause and vice versa.
So if you are getting similar symptoms to those you might get if you were pregnant, then it could be the case that you are hitting the menopause or just getting peri-menopause symptoms.
The average age for the menopause is age 51 so if you have missed a period and have other symptoms, there is also a chance that you may be pregnant rather actually entering the menopause.
Obviously you will have to do a pregnancy test to figure out which one is happening to you.
Thinking You Are Pregnant in Your Late 40s?
If you are in your late 40s and think you might be pregnant then take a home pregnancy test or go to your doctor and get checked out by them. However, be aware that I have heard and read of stories of women going to their doctor thinking they might be pregnant and the doctor totally writing off the idea and saying it must be the menopause. In this case going armed with a positive pregnancy test result should prove otherwise!
In fact it is often the case that if you accidentally get pregnant in your late 40s (most people might assume that the chances of it are so low that it is not worth using birth control) you may think you are entering the menopause. That was pretty much the case for Luisa Dillner, a newspaper columnist who got pregnant at age 47.
What Are the Chances?
WebMD states that the chances of getting pregnant at age 45 are around 3% each cycle. This is a declining rate and so you can expect it to get lower and lower for each year past age 45.
One problem with getting pregnant in your 40s, as I know, is that the chance of miscarriage is much higher due to, among other things, the possibility of chromosomal abnormalities. As long as you bear this in mind then this may keep your chances in perspective.
Not only is the miscarriage rate quite high, but also there are other medical reasons why getting pregnant in your late 40s is high risk.
So if you are trying to get pregnant, then you need to be aware of all of the facts and the possibility that it may not happen at all.
Do You Have a Regular Cycle?
If you have a regular cycle and are still ovulating then there is a chance that you can become pregnant. It does take longer to get pregnant the older you get but if you are still ovulating then there is still a chance. If you have been trying for a while then you can go and get your levels checked by your doctor - these blood tests may determine what kind of egg reserve you have left as the reserves diminish as we get older. The doctor may test your FSH and if it comes out at a high number (over 25) then you may have less chance of getting pregnant (but there is still hope).
If you are actively trying to get pregnant then it is worth monitoring your cycles by taking your temperature and using ovulation tests. If you can't figure out if you are ovulating then this article may help you.
Using Donor Eggs
If you are really desperate to have a baby in your late 40s then the recommendation is to go for donor egg IVF. This uses eggs from a much younger donor (usually under age 35 but often in their twenties) which can make the success rate for each cycle over 50%.
Going through a cycle of DE IVF is possible even if your periods are irregular (or even if you have entered the menopause).
It can be worth trying naturally at first while looking into the possibility of using donor eggs down the line.
Should you try to get pregnant naturally in your late 40s?
This is a big question but if you are keen to have a baby that is genetically yours then it is definitely worth trying. It would be advisable to monitor your cycles to check when you are ovulating to give yourself the best chance of getting pregnant. Give yourself a deadline if you are thinking of going down other routes.
If you want to have a baby and you are OK with the idea of using donor eggs then you have a seriously good chance of getting pregnant in your late 40s. Just check out the success rates of some of the clinics and you may be surprised.
We are conducting a poll to see how many readers have become pregnant at age 47 - the results are quite interesting and show that women are trying - and getting - pregnant at this age.
Did you get pregnant at 47?
© 2011 Jackie Grant