What Are the Chances of Getting Pregnant After 40?

Your Odds of Pregnancy and Miscarriage After 40

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30% of women ages 40 to 44 will experience infertility. Your chances of conceiving in any given month are also lower once you pass the big 4-0. A 40-year-old only has a 5% chance of getting pregnant per month. This means that even for those that will get pregnant, it may take longer.

As a point of comparison, a 30-year-old has about a 20% chance of getting pregnant each month. For women ages 15 to 34, 7% to 9% experience infertility, and women ages 35 to 39 experience infertility 25% of the time.

Getting pregnant after 40 is possible without fertility treatment, but your chances of having trouble conceiving are higher. After 45, it’s nearly impossible to get pregnant with your own eggs.

Fertility Treatments After 40

Another reason to see a doctor as soon as possible is that fertility treatments are less effective for women over 40. For example, IUI treatment success rates are as low as 5% for women in their 40s.

IVF treatment has slightly better success rates—15% per cycle—but that’s still not as good as it is for younger women. This rate quickly falls as the years go by as well. For women age over 40, the percentage of live births per IVF cycle is just 5.8%.

For some women, egg donation will give them the best chances for success after 40. Success rates for IVF with egg donation has 39.1% success rate per treatment cycle. That said, egg donation IVF isn’t for everyone. 

Pregnancy After Age 40

The focus here has been primarily on getting pregnant after 40, but it’s also important to consider what pregnancy after 40 means.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, your risk of some pregnancy and birth complications increases with age.

After age 35 (not just 40), women are at an increased risk of...

  • Cesarean delivery
  • Gestational diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Preeclampsia
  • Premature labor and birth

Babies conceived by women after age 40 are also at a higher risk of some congenital disorders. This is also true when the male partner is 40 or older. There is prenatal testing that can be done to screen for some of these diseases.

Risk of Miscarriage After 40

One factor working against women in their 40s who want to get pregnant is the higher rate of miscarriage. About 34% of pregnancies end in miscarriage for women ages 40 to 44, and 53% of pregnancies end in miscarriage for women after age 45.

Of course, you could try to look at this from the other side – even though 34% of pregnancies end in miscarriage for women in their early 40s, the majority of pregnancies do not.

While it’s best not to put off trying to get pregnant until your 40s, if you’re already there and wondering if it’s still possible for you, you should know it may still be. There are things you can do to increase the odds of conceiving, even after 40. Nothing is foolproof—but whatever you can do to tip the odds in your factor is worth trying.

Benefits of Having a Baby After 40

Not everything about having a child in your 40s is doom and gloom. There are many benefits to having children later in life.

Some possible pros include:

  • You may be more emotionally prepared
  • You might have more financial stability
  • You already explored the world, so you can focus on raising kids
  • Your career is already established so you can spend more time with your kids

When to Seek Help

Getting pregnant after 40 is possible without fertility treatment, but your chances of having trouble conceiving are higher. After 45, it’s nearly impossible to get pregnant with your own eggs.

If after six months you’re still not pregnant, you may want to ask your doctor for some basic fertility testing. They can check your FSH and AMH levels with a simple blood test. Your doctor may also recommend an antral follicle count ultrasound. These tests will give you and your doctor a good idea right away if you might already be at risk for infertility.

Also, if you have any symptoms or risk factors for infertility, then you should speak to your doctor before you even start trying.

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Article Sources
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  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Public Health Action Plan for the Detection, Prevention, and Management of Infertility. 2014.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ART Success Rates. Updated May 6, 2020.

  3. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Having a Baby After Age 35: How Aging Affects Fertility and Pregnancy. 2018.

  4. Magnus MC, Wilcox AJ, Morken NH, Weinberg CR, Håberg SE. Role of maternal age and pregnancy history in risk of miscarriage: prospective register based studyBMJ. 2019;364:l869. doi:10.1136/bmj.l869