Trying to Conceive Over Age 40

Why you should consider using donor eggs.

Many women delay family building until later in life and end up trying to conceive over age 40. However, getting pregnant gets more and more difficult as you get older, and is very challenging after age 40. Fortunately, egg donation is a great option for women over 40 who would like to conceive. Here’s a guide to pregnancy, age, and egg donation.

Why Is it so Hard to Conceive Over Age 40?

Egg quantity and quality both decrease with age, making it harder to get pregnant.

Women are born with a fixed number of eggs, and that number decreases over time. By puberty, most women have around 400,000 egg follicles (microscopic sacs where eggs grow in the ovaries). By age 37, only around 25,000 follicles remain. However, only about 300 eggs will be ovulated (released to potentially get fertilized) over a woman’s lifetime. The rest die off and are absorbed back into the body. By age 40, very few eggs are released, and ovulation is often irregular and less frequent.

Egg quality also affects the ability to conceive, and also decreases with age. The quality of eggs peaks in a person’s mid-20s, drops off through their early 30s and decreases sharply after age 37. Over time, the remaining eggs are more likely to have either too few or too many chromosomes, which can prevent pregnancy, result in a miscarriage, or lead to genetic health conditions for the baby.

The decrease in egg quantity and quality makes it significantly harder to conceive over age 40 using your own eggs.

What Are the Chances of a Natural Pregnancy Over Age 40?

For healthy couples trying to conceive in their 20s to early 30s, women have around a 25% chance of getting pregnant per menstrual cycle. At age 40, that chance is only 5% per cycle. And by age 45, it is extremely unlikely to be able to conceive naturally at all.

What Are the Chances of Conceiving Through IVF Over Age 40?

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a commonly known treatment option for people struggling with infertility. In IVF, a person’s eggs are retrieved from their ovaries and fertilized in a lab with sperm to make an embryo. The embryo is then transferred into their uterus, where it hopefully implants and develops into a pregnancy.

While IVF can be an effective treatment option, success rates also decrease with age. The average success rates per egg retrieval for IVF using your own eggs are:

  • Age 35-37: 38%
  • Age 38-40: 25%
  • Age 41-42: 13%
  • Age 43+: 4%

Whether trying to conceive naturally or through IVF, trying to conceive over age 40 with your own eggs is difficult, and comes with risks to the mother and child. Trying to conceive using donor eggs, however, has much higher success rates and avoids many of the genetic risks.

Why Should I Consider Donor Eggs?

When it comes to a healthy and successful pregnancy, the egg age matters much more than the age of the pregnant person. For this reason, donor egg IVF success rates are nearly identical regardless of the age of the IVF patient. Frozen donor egg cycles have around a 46% success rate, while fresh donor egg cycles have a success rate of 54%! Compared to the 4-13% chance to conceive over age 40 using your own eggs, donor egg IVF offers a significantly higher chance of pregnancy and coming home with your child.

Egg donors are specifically chosen in their 20s, when their eggs are at peak quality. They are also rigorously screened for genetic disorders, family history, and general physical, mental, and behavioral health. This means approved egg donors provide the healthiest possible eggs, for the healthiest possible babies. Donors do not have any parental rights – they donate eggs because they want to help a family’s dreams come true.

Egg donation is a safe and meaningful way to experience pregnancy and nurture a biological connection with your baby. Love makes a family, not genetics. While you may not have planned to consider donor eggs, we can assure you that it is a beautiful path to parenthood, and that your child will be exactly that: your child.

Eggceptional Fertility Has the Perfect Donor for You

We started as an egg donation agency because we believe that everyone deserves the chance to pursue their dream of parenthood. If you’re trying to conceive over age 40, call us today to talk about your options and find out if egg donation is right for you.