Conceiving After Age 35

Getting Pregnant After Age 35: Concerns about Conceiving in our Mid-to-Late 30s (& beyond)

Today, more and more couples are electing to have a baby (or start having babies) later in life. It would take an army of sociologists to chart out all the reasons for this phenomenon, but suffice it to say that the world we live in today is quite different than the world of our parents or grandparents - when getting pregnant in your 30s was nearly unheard of.

In the 1970s, the average age of a new mother was around 24 or 25. Now, the average age for getting pregnant is about 30 - and climbing... And it's also increasingly di rigueur to TTC (try-to-conceive) in your late 30s and early 40s.

So as the speed of life accelerates, postponing baby-making appears to be one of resultant phenomenon. Some people identify the simple fact that, today, more and more women are focusing on careers or education than in previous generations. Other people suggest that for this generation, our "30s is the new 20s".

At any rate, the fact is, a growing percentage of women are trying-to-conceive later in life - in their mid-to-late 30s and into their 40s. Most couples will succeed in conceiving (though it may take a bit more time and effort at this age); other couples may face some infertility hurdles and turn to fertility treatments (either herbal or clinical) for support. It's not unexpected that, as we age, our fertility declines. This goes for men as well as women!

Whatever the situation, one fact remains: the older you are, the better your chances of encountering various fertility obstacles, challenges, or delays... The point of this article is not to urge couples to conceive younger, but to simply clarify that getting pregnant might not be as fast or easy as for a 25 year old. A doctor will be your best resource for preconception support if you are trying for a baby in your mid-30s plus.

Let's look at just a few basic facts to frame our expectations about conceiving a baby in our 30s. After that, we'll look at some of the challenges, as well as some of the solutions and strategies for increasing the odds of conceiving after 35.

  • First, TTC couples (any age) have only a 20% chance of achieving a pregnancy each menstrual cycle. However, active fertility charting and ovulation testing will increase those odds substantially!
  • When a woman is TTC in her 30’s, the monthly chance of conception drops to less than 15%.
  • The monthly odds of conceiving decrease as a woman ages due to various physiological issues like hormonal balance and associated ovulatory/menstrual cycle irregularities - as well as aging ovaries (or decreased ovarian reserve). This means it might take longer (more cycle of active trying) to get that positive pregnancy test.
  • Today, 15% of trying to conceive couples may experience some kind of difficulty or delay in conceiving a baby...

What to Do About This? As you age, staying fit and staying healthy become increasingly important. That means focusing on sound diet and proper weight to optimize your reproductive advantage. Just as important, chart fertility to discover when you ovulate during your cycle. Predicting ovulation will vastly maximize your odds of a pregnancy - and bbt charting can also alert women in their 30s if their ovulatory cycles are displaying signs of irregularity. 

Fertility Challenges and Infertility Obstacles

As we age, the vigorous and balanced interplay of reproductive hormones begins to decline - and with this so declines our fertility. Ultimately, a woman's "ovarian reserve" begins to run low, her eggs age, her hormones do not ebb and flow with the same balance and stability. Ovarian reserve refers to the amount of healthy eggs available in a woman's ovaries, as well as the quality of those eggs - and the hormonal capacity to stimulate egg maturation. Thus, menstrual cycles may become irregular or perhaps less predictable and there may be occasions when ovulation does not take place. Balance between reproductive hormones is crucial for regular ovulation. Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) tests can be used at home to help you assess your ovarian reserve.

The presence of cervical mucus (or CM) is also an important aspect of fertility - and as we age, the presence and/or quality of cervical mucus may decline as a coefficient of hormonal imbalances. Fertile cervical mucus is supported by the estrogens, so any kind of reproductive hormonal deficiency with estrogen may interrupt both ovulatory regulatory, as well as the production of cervical fluids that support conceiving. (Products like FertileCM can be used to increase the quantity and quality of your cervical mucus.)

How do I optimize my chances of conceiving after age 35?

The first thing to remember is that even for someone in their 20s, there is no guarantee that you will conceive right off the starting line. As indicated above, there is only a 20% chance of conceiving per given menstrual cycle. So, if you are TTC and age 35-plus, simply recognizing that overnight success might not happen is a healthy way to frame things. In other words...

Calibrate your expectations and realize that it might (or might not) take up to a year a more before you get that first positive preg test...

Next, consider the options for tactically increasing the odds of pregnancy....

  • If your TTC horizons are calibrated, then you know what to expect. The more you know, the less the stress. And reducing stress or anxiety is the second step for boosting your pregnancy chances. The less you worry, the better your mind and body work together.
  • Along with mental well-being, physical well-being is just as important. Being overweight or underweight can adversely effect hormonal balance and cycle regularity. A smart diet (and exercise) are essential. Prenatal vitamins are vital. Yoga or fertility acupuncture are increasingly popular.
  • Chart your BBTs! Any doctor or fertility expert will tell you that fertility charting and monitoring your monthly cycle will maximize your opportunities for a pregnancy per given cycle. If you know when you ovulate (by bbt charting or using ovulation tests) and can time intercourse for your most fertile days. Particularly after age 35, guesswork is likely not going to be sufficient! Start an ovulation calendar today...
  • If you have any kind of cycle irregularity or simply wish to ensure cycle balance, herbal fertility supplements like FertilAid are available that are designed to naturally regulate and normalize the monthly cycle.

Over 35? Then first off, arrange a preconception doctor's visit. Talking with your doctor about medical history, health status, conceiving tips, and preconception expectations can clarify unanswered questions and point you in the right direction - as well as decrease stress about facing the unknown.

In case you do not conceive within 6 months or so, your doctor will likely advise a return visit to ensure there are no interfering fertility issues.

> Check out our TTC Countdown
> Back to Preconception and TTC Main Page.
> To learn more about Ovulation, click here.
> Read about FertilAid fertility supplements. Clinical Study.

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My youngest daughter was born just 6 weeks before my 46th birthday, perfect in every way. My very own little miracle is now 10!

My husband and I have three children our eldist daughter is 14yrs old and our twins are pre teens so my husband and I desided to have another baby so three monthes later we was pregnant with a baby girl we had our baby girl oct.15,2010. But, she passed away the next afternoon oct.16,2010. Now we are trying so hard to have another baby so my arms won't be empty no more but my husband is 36 and I am 32 now what can i do to make this happen i have been getting my period since I was 8 1/2 yrs old. We have sex every day no matter what. I am so lost it has never been this hard before. Hope someone could help?

hi i am 34 age i am expecting to become concieve but i have hypothyroid problem hormone issue , bone pain, back ache, irregular mensural,4 month while i am get periods. do there possible for me to get pregnency. i got married 4 years back we are not having relationship for 3 year . wt treatment should i take.ple guide us

hi i am 34 age i am expecting to become concieve but i have hypothyroid problem hormone issue , bone pain, back ache, irregular mensural,4 month while i am get periods. do there possible for me to get pregnency. i got married 4 years back we are not having relationship for 3 year . wt treatment should i take.ple guide us

I'm 39yrs, already i have a 6yr old child, she was concieved 8mths after a fibriod operation in 2004, i concieved again in 2007 but lost it at 6mths,been trying to concieve again since then,did some test in 2011 and was told the fibriod had grown again and could make conception difficult. I want more kids preferably twins this year,i believe with God i can,whats your clinical recommendations? Thanks anticipation ur response.

I just celebrated my 32nd birthday on the 8th December, 2011 and i have been trying to conceive for the past three years without success.
Since marriage, my husband and i have never stayed togather for more than a month but i have tried to always meet with him when am ovulating but still no results. I conacted a doctor and i was treated for cervixtitis and was declared fit to conceive but still nothing has changed.

What else should i do? for i'm getting worried.

hi im 37 and just descovered i am pregnant for the first time. I am about four or five be honest i was shocked and i wasnt overjoyed because i wasnt realy planning on having any children but at the same time i dont want to have a termination now that i am pregnant.I always thought it wouldnt bother me to do it due to not wanting any kids but now that im pregnant i feel diferent. i do though have a few concerns. my partener is 9 years older than me and has a teenage daughter from a previous relationship. he has always said he would have liked to have another child but it never happened. he also said he didnt mind me not wanting any and wouldnt put any pressure on me but now that i am pregnant i am in two minds in what to do. what if i changed my mind later on and this was my only chance to get pregnant? at the same time im concerned about how tiring it would be for my partener later on down the line, he would be in his sixties when the child is a teenager.there is also the fianancial side of things and one of my main concerns is the higher risk of getting cancer by having a child so late. i am in a good stable relationship and if it wasnt for any of these concerns i would probably be less unsure of which way to go.Unfotunatly I am not at all clued up on any aspects of this. i have not realy been around children a lot and i dont even know if i would be very good at it. if i do decide keep it what are the best ways to keep healthy and safe? please help any advice would be apreciated thank you x
confused 18.12.11 xxx

Hi Everyone,
Just to let you know it is possible to have healthy babies over the age of 35yrs. I had my first little baby boy at 37yrs and my second little baby girl at 40yrs. I used the site to help me recognise my most fertile days and my husband & I focused on getting together a few days before ovulation, the day itself and the day after (just to be sure!). I started trying for a baby in my early 30s but had 3 miscarriages. I only got successfully pregnant naturally in my late 30s. So don't let the 'stats' of having a baby at a later age get you down. As long as you are ovulating, you have as much a chance of conceiving as everyone else. Good luck to everyone out there! Dee x P.S. Precautions - try and be a healthy weight and take your prenatal vitamins!!

I am 36 and ttc for the last 6 months. I was on birth control pills for 10 years and wished I would've stopped them 5 years ago. I was naive about the effects of the pill and how for some women the pill may cause a delay for conceiving. But I just have faith and patience that I will at least have one child and that if its meant to be than its meant to be. Good luck everyone and just have faith and patience.

Ok im a mother of 2 my husband and i were trying to get pregnant one more time. it took me 6 mos to get pregnant with the one we lost. i lost the baby at 7 weeks, after that i cried every time i got my period cause it was a reminder i lost my baby . suddenly getting pregnant became technical with BBT which stressed me out more cause my chart looked like rocky mountains and when i saw my chart peek at its highest point nothing happened. so know i go with cervical fluid. at one point i took Robitussin cough surpe which i read on the net helps your cervical fluid for those of us who experience vaginal dryness and or over 35. well im back on my vitamins to make sure i get that folic acid . my thing is i feel pressured for time i dont want to have a baby past 40. plus a scary thought i read woman 35-39 have increased chance of twins. with all the celebrity 40 is the new age having kids twins are popping like crazy unless they all went to the same dr/ IVF . im crushed but i have not given up in the mean time ive made a appt for my obgyn to look into things a little further. if all else fails maybe we can adopt.

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By TTC veteran and mother of two, Elizabeth Andrews.