Mummy says… I am blessed to have had four children – in my twenties, thirties and forties. I did find conceiving fairly easy, but this is certainly not the case for many women….
Women around the world try for a baby at different ages. Some of them jump into motherhood as early as in their twenties (as I did), some put it off for later because of financial instability or relationship status. Some women, like me, have had their first child or children at a young age and now, when they are over 40, they wish to have be mothers again. So what are the odds of getting pregnant naturally at the age of 40?
The chances of conceiving without the help of any fertility treatment in any given month are very slim, only about 5%. This means that 30% of women in their forties experience infertility.
But what do the birth statistics for this age group say? Surprisingly, new data shows that the fertility rate of women in their forties is much higher than that of women under 20. Did you know that 40+ women are, in fact, the only age group with a growing pregnancy rate? This is quite unusual and has not happened before. There were 28,744 women who conceived and had babies in their 40s in 2016, compared to only 12,032 in 1990.
How is it possible? It is all thanks to ART (Assisted Reproduction Technology) that helps women with poor egg quality or a low ovarian reserve get pregnant. IVF process may not be easy and straightforward. For some women, it is a path of several unsuccessful IUIs, then failed IVFs with own eggs, tons of hormone shots, mood swings, an emotional roller coaster, blood tests, pregnancy tests and even, sometimes, miscarriages. To make this journey more straightforward and effective for women 40+ fertility doctors recommend the egg donation route. IVF using donor eggs has success rates of 60% and has helped many couples to experience pregnancy and become mature parents.
Challenges and benefits of being a mum after 40
What are the benefits of having a baby after 40? Mature mothers are usually more experienced, wiser and more financially secure. They also tend to be more focused on the child than parents in their 20s who divide their time between family, career, travelling and partying.
Certainly, being a mum after 40 is challenging. But isn’t life challenging in general? The egg donation process, especially a fresh donor eggs program, can be time-consuming, expensive (if you go private in the UK) and you might find it difficult to juggle the doctor’s appointments, work, taking medication on time and married life. Also, some mature women might be at risk of having a difficult pregnancy or a preterm baby.
However, if you are generally healthy and have a balanced diet and lifestyle, this can help a lot and you might not have any complications at all. If you have doubts, consult your fertility doctor – they will be able to tell you more about your health condition and possible effects on your future pregnancy. And, most of all, stay positive.
It is important to understand that we should not be advising women to have babies later in their lives nor pushing them to get pregnant in their twenties. People’s lives differ so much,we have various lifestyles, jobs, hobbies, but usually one common goal: to create a loving family and have a healthy baby. We should support all mums, regardless of age.
I have absolutely no regrets in having Pickle in my forties – my pregnancy was trouble free and I actually had the best birth out of all of my births.
Have you experienced motherhood after 40?