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 percent of woman 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 percent 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 percent chance of getting pregnant each month. For woman ages 15 to 34, 7 to 9 percent experience infertility, and women ages 35 to 39 experience infertility 25 percent 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.

Miscarriage More Common After 40

Another factor working against women in their 40s who want to get pregnant is the higher rate of miscarriage.

About 34 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage for women ages 40 to 44, and 53 percent 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 percent 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.

When to Seek Help in Your 40s

Because infertility is more likely after 40, and because with every year that passes your chances are lower, it’s important you seek help as soon as possible if you experience trouble conceiving.

If after six months you’re still not pregnant, it’s time for an evaluation.

Honestly, you may want to see your doctor right away and ask for some basic fertility testing. They can test 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.

Fertility Treatments Less Successful 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 percent for women in their 40s.

IVF treatment has slight better success rates—15 percent 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 40 and up, the percentage of live births per IVF cycle is just 5.8 percent according to the most recent statistics.

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 percent success rate per treatment cycle. That said, egg donor 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 increase with age.

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

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

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.

Benefits to 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:

  • Having financial stability
  • Already having your career established (which may mean you can spend more time with your kids)
  • More patience (helpful when you’re caring for a toddler)
  • Time to explore the world when you’re young, then focus on kids later
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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, Atlanta, Georgia: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; June 2014.

  2. Nybo andersen AM, Wohlfahrt J, Christens P, Olsen J, Melbye M. Maternal age and fetal loss: population based register linkage study. BMJ. 2000;320(7251):1708-12. doi: 10.1136/bmj.320.7251.1708

  3. Clinical Guideline 11: Fertility: Assessment and Treatment for People with Fertility Problems. London: NICE; 2004.

  4. ART Success Rates (ART) Data. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/art/artdata/index.html. Published November 15, 2019.