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Pregnancy over 40: What you need to know

Ali and her son Monty
Ali and her son Monty

At the London Women’s Clinic we see many women over 40 come through our doors looking for fertility treatment. That’s why we have created a dedicated Fertility for the Over-40s treatment programme. 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 over 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.

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

"First of all, we would suggest an Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) 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 what 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 Testing (or PGT-A) or egg donation.

"PGT-A 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 Mr Michael Summers, Consultant in Reproductive Medicine.

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 to provide donor eggs without a wait and with success rates over 50%.

For more information about treatment options for women trying to get pregnant over 40, please contact us or attend one of our Fertility for the Over-40s information seminars.

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