28.07.2014

What are my chances of getting pregnant after 35

A woman in her 20s has a 20% chance of getting pregnant during a single menstrual cycle, says Alan Copperman, MD, director of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. After that, the picture is a little less clear."It would appear from the limited and poor quality data that we have that that rate falls significantly [at 40]. So while it's harder for older women to get pregnant, and the chance of a chromosomally abnormal child increases, these problems do not increase as sharply as we fear - except perhaps for those trying IVF or artificial insemination."Those statistics are more discouraging for older women," explains Twenge. Even more shocking is that a lot of the statistics we hear about modern fertility are based on historical data from French birth records from 1670 to 1830.
Jean Twenge, a psychologist at San Diego State University in the US, was 34, recently remarried, and looking to start a family, when she heard it from her doctor."That was very frightening to me, as it is to many women who are in their 30s," she says. They put together all these church birth records and then came up with these statistics about how likely it was [someone would] get pregnant after certain ages." These are women who had no access to modern healthcare, nutrition or even electricity.


But as we know from some notable celebrity cases, it is not impossible to get pregnant in the early or indeed late 40s," says James.And, he adds, there is evidence that female fertility is improving. It's possible that this has been overstated too, in James's view.The chance of any chromosomal abnormality at the age of 20 is one in 500, he says. According to Dunson’s research on contemporary women, there is only a 4 percent drop in pregnancy rates from age 28 to age 37.
At age 40, they drop to 10%, and by age 45, she has about a 3% chance of getting pregnant during each cycle.
The most widely cited is a paper by David Dunson published in 2004, which found that 82% of women aged between 35 and 39 fell pregnant within a year. They may not even have had intercourse."There's no doubt that intercourse becomes less frequent the older the couple are," James says.


The latest update of the Nice guideline on fertility recognises that "the chances of women naturally conceiving at the age of 40 are much higher now than they were when the original guideline was written [in 2004]," James says. That's significantly better than the two-thirds chance drawn from the 300-year-old birth records. Nice fertility guideline (2013) in full [680KB]"I think that doctors who give blanket advice to populations… are making all sorts of presumptions," says leading fertility expert Prof Lord Winston.




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