Getting Pregnant in your 40’s

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The age at which women are deciding to become pregnant has been shifting significantly over the past decades. In particular in the past decade these figures have increased dramatically. In 2010 the birth rate for women between the ages of 40-44 was 10.2 per 1000 babies born 1. , which was up 2% from 2009. In 2016 that figure increased to 11.4, which was a 4% increase on 2015. 2. It is also no longer uncommon for a woman to become pregnant for the very first time in her 40’s. However, there still seems to be stigma attached, as society constantly reminds women of their biological clock. 

It is true that a woman’s egg supply decreases dramatically in her 30’s making it more difficult to become pregnant. A study in the Medical Journal Fertility and Sterility suggests that a woman in her 40’s has a 25% chance of getting pregnant using her own eggs while a woman at 43 only has a 10% chance. In my experience however fertility is very individual, as well as the fertility of her partner and how well their fertility is in combination as a couple. I have personally treated many women in their 40’s and have a much higher success rate and none have used donor eggs, this is also of course because in Switzerland donor eggs are illegal. And yet women still get pregnant here. 

Society puts a lot of pressure on women to tune into their biological clock, while at the same time they are told that they are strong and just as capable as a man of having a successful career. Furthermore, as the cost of living has risen it has become standard that two incomes are essential to maintain a middle class life. These two incomes are necessary if a young couple are ever going to have the opportunity to buy a home for their future family. 

Let’s also put the years into perspective. On average education takes up a huge chunk of our youth. In Australia and New Zealand nearly 20 years of your life is taken up with education. Which means you are not likely to finish studying until you are 26 or 27 years old. Now you can finally start to make some money and build a career, and the idea of settling down and having a family is often far in the distance.

So your egg supply and their quality are diminishing, this is true. The possible solution to ensure you maintain egg quality would be to freeze your eggs. But very few women at the age of 26, after just entering the work force, are thinking about freezing their eggs. For one thing a 26 year old, just out of university is often not planning to start in her late 20’s a family, nor does she have the financial backing to support up to three treatments which costs about 15,000USD. Egg freezing in your 30’s is still an absolute possibility although the quality is not as good as your 20’s. However, at least in your 30’s you are more likely to have the finances to pay for it. 

I see a lot of women in their late 30’s, early 40’s coming for acupuncture to help them become pregnant. What I can say on the positive side of their age is they have more life experience, are in general wiser and normally more financially stable. In general the women that come to see me are very aware of their body, eat healthy, good quality food, get enough sleep and exercise. All of these points are very important to maintain fertility and a healthy pregnancy and is sometimes lacking in women in their 20’s. 

At the end circumstances and choice dictate the reason why women are starting families’ later in life and we are not here to judge. I use Acupuncture and Herbal treatments to help women of all ages fulfil their dream of having a family.


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