Pregnancy at 40: What you need to know

Pregnancy at 40: What you need to know

Posted on 5.12.14

Newsreader Kate Silverton, 44, was interviewed this week about her experience as an older mum. Kate who has just had her second baby at 43 discussed whether her generation had got it right getting pregnant at 40 or over.

Getting pregnant at 40: Why now?

At the London Women's Clinic we see many women over 40 come through our doors looking for fertility treatment. Many of these women are single and have chosen their career over having a baby in their 30s or have been waiting for Mr Right. We also see many couples in their 40s who may have met their partners later in life or are in their second marriage and want to have children.

The chances of getting pregnant at 40

The media is full of Hollywood mums having babies in their 40s but realistically what are the chances of a woman having a baby in her 40s? Statistics show that the chance of natural conception declines with age. By the age of 40, only two in five women who want to have a baby will be able to. But why do success rates decline with age? There's no simple answer, but it seems likely that the most important reason is the quality of the egg and in turn the quality of the embryo after fertilisation. 

What are the options for women who want to get pregnant at 40+?

"First of all, we would suggest an Anti Mullerian Hormone blood test that would give us an indication of the patient's egg reserve. With this information, the patient's ultrasound scan results, her medical history and her age in mind we will be able to advise the patient on waht treatment options may be possible," says Dr Shailaja Nair, deputy medical director of the London Women's Clinic. Depending on the outcome of the consultation, treatment options may include intrauterine insemination (IUI), IVF treatment, Preimplantation Genetic Screening (or PGS) or egg donation

"PGS may be especially appropriate for older women as studies analysing the genetic and chromosome make-up of eggs and embryos have consistently found that the rate of defects increases with age. Aneuploidy screening may improve pregnancy and live birth rates, because only embryos with normal chromosome arrangements are selected for transfer," explains genetic counsellor Karen Sage.

Egg donation is also a popular option for women in their 40s, particularly women over 42, as success rates for treatment with their own eggs tends to decline significantly after this age. The London Women's Clinic works closely with the London Egg Bank and our current success rates for treatment with donor eggs is over 50%. And most importantly, when you fear that time is running out, our treatment can start without a wait.

For more information about treatment options for women trying to get pregnant at 40 or over, or to find out more about your fertility, please call 020 7563 4309 or email info@londonwomensclinic.com

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