Positive experiences trying to conceive after 40?
March 31, 2015 9:47 AM   Subscribe

If you have naturally conceived and carried a pregnancy to term in your 40s, or know someone who has, please share your experience with me.

I am 41, soon to be 42. I had 3 first-trimester miscarriages in my late 30s. We never got a definite answer as to why, but my personal suspicion is that at least part of it was due to stress, and possibly also estrogen dominance (my progesterone levels used to test abysmally low, although a doc pooh-poohed the idea that this was a factor). I believe I had substandard medical care, largely because I was poor.

When my partner and I broke up, I figured my chances to be a mom were pretty much over. I basically buried my desire to have a child, for the most part. I reunited with my ex (this is already too long but without going into detail, please accept that our relationship is solid and this is one of the few examples of getting back together with an ex being a good idea) and the desire returned. I still very much want a child, and was surprised to find recently that my partner does too.

Now that I have allowed myself to admit how much I still want a child, I am finding it hard to keep up hope that it's possible at my age--and at my partner's age of 49. We are not interested in adoption, and for a variety of reasons (financial and logistical, not medical), IVF is probably not in the cards. Finances are better though and I will fight to get good medical care now.

I am overweight but have managed to lose and keep off 25 pounds in recent months and hope to lose more. I am exercising moderately, taking supplements, trying to keep my stress levels down, using progesterone cream, and reducing and hope to eliminate caffeine. I have not yet gone back to trying to calculate ovulation, but am about to start again. My periods were like clockwork when I was younger but for maybe the past year some of them have been shorter, which I gather is a bad sign.

My partner used to smoke but went to e-cigs a while back. He is average weight. He's not taking supplements but I plan to suggest the idea.

If you have had success with natural conception and childbirth after 40, please tell me your story. I am of course interested in what you think helped you conceive and keep your pregnancy, but I'm also just interested in hearing that it can happen, from real people.
posted by mysterious_stranger to Health & Fitness (49 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 
I have always had regular periods. Like you, I really wanted children. I got married at 41, pregnant shortly after, delivered my first son at 42. Got pregnant again at 42 and had my second son at 43. No ivf.

However I had preeclampsia with my first son but they aren't sure of exact causes. He was two pounds but luckily didn't get major complications and is now four years old.

My second son was full term.

I drank coffee throughout. I will post more later when I'm back home. Also you can me mail me as can anyone wondering about motherhood after forty.
posted by biggreenplant at 10:09 AM on March 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


My mother was 42 and father 50 when I was born in the 70s. As far as I know the conception was natural (it would have had to be back then right?). Birth was by C-Section because a) that was how they rolled back then and b) I was a big baby (over 10.5 pounds). My mom was a school teacher so she would have had a pretty generous pregnancy/mat leave which probably helped with the later stages of pregnancy and recovery afterwards.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 10:10 AM on March 31, 2015


It can happen to real people :)

My stepmother and my dad had my youngest sister when they were 44yo. I know that she had had *at least* one miscarriage before that pregnancy. I don't know the details, but they are normal people, they are sorta healthy even though they don't do sports regularly or watch their food too much. My dad was (and still is) a bit overweight, high blood pressure; her weight was/is normal, but she drank tons of soda, so I bet she wasn't 100% perfect either.

Keep trying and checking in with the doctor just in case. Good luck!!

PS: My sister is lovely and healthy.
posted by divina_y_humilde at 10:13 AM on March 31, 2015


I just delivered my second at age 40. I had my first at 35. Both were natural conceptions, with uncomplicated pregnancies and deliveries and both children are healthy and thriving. I have a number of friends in similar age brackets with their kids, and as far as I know only 2 required reproductive assistance. Definitely see a physician, preferably an OB or endocrinologist who specializes in fertility sooner rather than later, but it is absolutely possible to have children later.
posted by goggie at 10:14 AM on March 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


My stepmom had my half-sisters in her early 40's. There was one early pregnancy loss either before or between the two (I was a tween-to-teen and they didn't make a big deal of it). No other interventions. The girls are awesome and I'm glad they're here.
posted by tchemgrrl at 10:32 AM on March 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


I got pregnant and delivered when I was 41. My first and only pregnancy. My husband was 51. We had no trouble conceiving naturally by having really, really a lot of sex all the time, as opposed to watching calendars and ovulation calculations and such things. (So much more fun!). I gave up caffeine and alcohol during pregnancy and ate lots of fruits and vegetables and didn't eat much junk food at all really. I had a C-section because the baby was breech, but that was not difficult to recover from. Our child now 14 and is big and beautiful and smart and strong and healthy and a real delight.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 10:37 AM on March 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


It absolutely can happen. We've had two children since we turned 40. You may find yourself referred to a "high-risk" OB, but all that really seems to mean (around here anyway) is that you'll be offered more in the way of testing/screening and may be asked to visit the doc's office more frequently towards the end of the pregnancy than you might if you were in your 20s.

I have not yet gone back to trying to calculate ovulation, but am about to start again.

There are smartphone apps for this sort of thing now, by the way. The materials out there for NFP can also be of use, regardless of your religious persuasion.
posted by jquinby at 10:40 AM on March 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


I was a late thirties surprise baby for my mom. My sister had her last child at 40. They both had some blood pressure problems in the last trimester, but everything turned out well for both. In fact, I seem to know a lot of folks who waited to start families until after 35 or so, including a few right around the 40 mark (and we have one friend whose mom was 52 when he was born).

That said, I work in public health and so I'm pretty well acquainted with the increasing risks of certain conditions when conception happens after 35. That's ok, just make sure that the two of you discuss how you would go about deciding what steps to take should you find out during a pre-term screening that you may be expecting a child with special needs (and, yes, it would be ideal for you to seek screening if and when you do get pregnant). That's something you can start doing while you're trying to get pregnant--go to some family planning courses (a lot of hospitals and universities do these sorts of things on a routine basis). It'll help you answer your questions in the context of other people seeking q & a from caregivers and other parents in similar situations.

I'm not sure why "supplements" for your partner came up--that's not going to do anything, although moving away from e-cigarettes may have an impact.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 10:40 AM on March 31, 2015


I am 41 and 9 weeks pregnant (with my first) from a natural conception - obviously it's early but things are going well. I had 2 failed pregnancies (1 ectopic, 1 early miscarriage) in the last few years. The 2 things I would recommend (if you haven't already, though it does sound like you're taking steps in general) would be to get a full fertility workup from an MD for you and for him (either from your GYN, maybe better from a reproductive endocrinologist), and to see a nutritionist who specializes in fertility (for me, this was an acupuncturist who is also a nutritionist). The MD put me on a low dose of thyroid meds and the nutritionist put me on some vitamin D, some omega-3s and some folic acid in addition to the pre-natals I was already taking (I see you're taking supplements now). These are relatively inexpensive ways to improve your fertility and they certainly help your overall health. They might give you a practical sense of where your challenges lie and how big or modest they are - it can be particularly frustrating when you're incorporating a bunch of things into your lifestyle and then suddenly there's something relatively straightforward that is a major obstacle (for example, if you've been doing a ton of stuff and the complication turns out to be male factor).
posted by vunder at 10:46 AM on March 31, 2015


It's so possible! For you, even! My bestie had her first and only at age 45 -- conceived naturally, no complications in pregnancy or labor, healthy kid. Yippee!
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:48 AM on March 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


With your weight, you might have some temporary diabetes issue crop up, they will test you once you are pregnant. Get to a doctor, already!

Pregnant at 39, delivered at 40. No, wait - pregnant at 40, delivered just before I turned 41? I don't remember!

Lots of sex, no protection. It happened when it happened. It happened. When you are older they make you come for check ups every week. Just get to doctor already!
posted by jbenben at 10:58 AM on March 31, 2015


Conceived and had a child when my wife was 42. I was 33. Perfectly healthy child (with a nut allergy) though breastfeeding turned into a nightmare that we soon gave up on.

My wife was somewhat overweight at the time of conception but we were both relatively healthy people, non-smokers, light drinkers. I was a former drug user (mostly pot, with short adventures into harder things) but not at the time of conception. To conceive him all we did was have sex a couple of times without birth control. We were fortunate it was that simple.

We did have one miscarriage scare a few months in where they gave us a 50/50 chance. The Critter was delivered by c-section two weeks late after inducing didn't help any. He's been pretty stubborn since.

He's almost 13 now and mostly normal.
posted by bondcliff at 11:13 AM on March 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


My youngest sister was conceived and delivered when my mom was 40. My mother had some shortening of periods, like you, and before she found out she was pregnant she actually thought she was going through early menopause (my maternal grandmother went through menopause at 38). She was considered high risk due to age and four previous C-sections (I was her first child and only complicated pregnancy, with an emergency C-section at 30 weeks) but she had a scheduled C-section at 39 weeks with no complications, and at 15 my sister is totally healthy.
posted by skyl1n3 at 11:21 AM on March 31, 2015


I'm 44 and have been on the infertility roller coaster since I was 37. I never had any trouble getting pregnant, but had many early first trimester losses. I delivered my first child right after I turned 40, although that child was conceived through IVF. After several repeated attempts at IVF, we conceived our current pregnancy, due in just a few weeks, naturally. I just turned 44.

I am a member of RESOLVE so I have lots of friends who've been down this road too, and after some intervention have gone on to conceive naturally.

First, you need to start with some simple bloodwork, which can be done with your OB or your GP even, to get a baseline of where you're at. You want to have your thyroid checked, your estradiol and progesterone levels. Stop using progesterone cream beforehand, if you are not using it for a diagnosed and prescribed medical condition. If you have legit progesterone issues related to your fertility, progesterone cream isn't going to get you where you need to be anyway.

Get a blood test for MTHFR. It's a slight genetic mutation that means that the body does not metabolize B vitamins correctly. Folic acid is a B vitamin and is considered essential in the first weeks of gestation, as it helps the fetus form the spinal nerves and helps fuse the spinal column. Early miscarriage is common among those of us who have this mutation. If you have it, you will likely be counseled to take methylfolate as opposed to folic acid, and a higher dose (I take 10x the normally recommended amount).

Have your partner get a sperm analysis done - this can also be done with the GP.

All of those tests should be covered by your insurance.

Don't "hope" to stop caffeine - if you're serious about making this happen, stop caffeine. This is how I did it - every time the urge to have a cup of coffee struck I would ask myself "what do I want more, a cup of coffee, or a baby?". When you re-frame your goals that way, it becomes easy to make changes in your life.

Likewise, start tracking your cycle today. I found the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility absolutely invaluable in truly understanding my cycle.

Encourage your partner to stop using nicotine in all forms. Again, frame it in terms of goals. This exact issue was the reason my husband decided to stop smoking.

In my experience, your weight doesn't matter. I was 70lbs heavier when I conceived my first child than I was when I conceived my second. I really thought losing all of that weight would make it so much easier to conceive the 2nd time around, but again, we still had several miscarriages. It really all comes down to where your hormone levels are.

In my experience and the experience of my friends, if you do get pregnant and miscarry, try to get pregnant again immediately. After a miscarriage your hormone levels are still high and your body is still primed to be pregnant. That's how many of us came to conceive naturally.

In the meantime, get your baseline bloodwork examined during a consultation with a fertility expert. Your OB and your GP are not qualified to give you fertility advice. A consultation with a Reproductive Endocrinologist will cost anywhere from $250-$400, but may yield some information where you may figure out how to conceive without getting into the super costly treatments.

Best of luck.
posted by vignettist at 11:22 AM on March 31, 2015 [8 favorites]


My friend had an "oops" pregnancy at 42. The baby just turned 2 and is healthy and happy.
posted by town of cats at 11:24 AM on March 31, 2015


My partner and I have two healthy kids, born when she was 39 and 42 - it is definitely more fraught with medical worry, but entirely possible.
posted by ryanshepard at 11:36 AM on March 31, 2015


A consultation with a Reproductive Endocrinologist will cost anywhere from $250-$400, but may yield some information where you may figure out how to conceive without getting into the super costly treatments.

My insurance covered everything diagnostic, but nothing treatment-related. The consult and labs fell into the diagnostic category so I paid the co-pay plus some basic overages on the labs but not hundreds of dollars for the complete consult and workup.
posted by vunder at 11:41 AM on March 31, 2015


I'm 40 and currently 23 weeks pregnant, although I was 39 when I conceived. This is my second pregnancy, and my OBs so far are treating it pretty similarly to my first (when I was 36 at conception and 37 when the baby was born). I conceived after only a couple of months of trying in both cases. I have had no miscarriages that I know of (it's possible I had some very early ones before my period was late, but there would be no way of knowing that). I'm feeling the baby moving around in there right now.

I'm also overweight and always had regular periods, though I was on the Pill from 1998 until we started trying for the first in 2011, so I really can't say what my periods would have been like without it (I wasn't having sex before that, so I didn't really track them). I only really started limiting caffeine after the positive pregnancy test result in both pregnancies.

Something like 70% of first trimester miscarriages are caused by chromosomal abnormalities in the embryo. Were those ruled out in your miscarriages? (I suspect not, if you had substandard medical care- I don't think they look for those in a first or second miscarriage even in normal medical practice) Those are pretty much random events and there's nothing you can do to keep them from happening again. The chances of chromosomal abnormalities do go up as you get older, but the odds are still in your favor. I got a sheet from the genetic counselor when I was pregnant the first time, and if you have a CVS or amniocentesis (at somewhere between 10 and 18 weeks pregnant), your chances at age 45 of having the baby have no chromosomal abnormalities is something like 95%. (The odds of a chromosomal abnormality would be higher at conception.) I had a CVS in each pregnancy, and the chromosomes were normal both times.
posted by Anne Neville at 11:42 AM on March 31, 2015


My mom had me at 42. My dad was 48 (and FWIW still smoked at the time, he quit a little bit later.) I'm their only child. All natural everything, and very easy pregnancy & delivery. Without calling her to ask, she'd probably say it was because she ate very healthy. She ate (still does) mostly fruit, vegetables, grains, some eggs and fish, no junk food, very little caffeine or alcohol. If vitamins were a thing then, she probably took lots of them, because she does now. She didn't work out (did anyone in the 70s work out?) but they lived in New York so she walked everywhere. (IIRC she said the day before I was born, she walked across Manhattan.) Also I know this is the most frustrating advice ever but I'll add that she wasn't stressed about conceiving. Their attitude was basically, huh I guess we're getting old, we should try to have a kid now and if not, oh well.

Good luck to you:)
posted by DestinationUnknown at 11:45 AM on March 31, 2015


Someone I used to work with just had her second child. She is currently 44. Her first child was born about 3-4 years ago. She had many miscarriages and a stillborn over the course of a decade (the stillborn was when she was in her early 30s and had just gotten married), tried IVF several times, tried all kinds of tracking methods. Her husband and she both changed their life habits during that time. He quit smoking, she got really into yoga and pilates and dance for fitness purposes while he started running. They both tried to eliminate stress as much as possible (not easy in her job).

Both of their children were conceived naturally as far as I know. I also know they were working with some folks who helped them maximize their chances through the same kind of advice that vignettist suggested. They began trying for their second child almost immediately after the first was born, and despite several doctors telling her it probably wouldn't happen (much like they told her her first child wouldn't happen) she now has two perfectly healthy children.

She has said that she feels the second baby came much easier because she was so much less anxious about the pregnancy than she was before her first child. That's hardly scientific, but it shows that at a bare minimum she was happier when she wasn't stressing quite as much.
posted by Urban Winter at 11:50 AM on March 31, 2015


My grandma had my uncle when she was 47, in 1970. No comment on the mechanics there. (He's great!)

Definitely get your bloodwork done.

Did you have a D&C with any of your miscarriages? I hope this doesn't sound too ghoulish, but when we conceived almost immediately after my D&C for a non-viable first pregnancy (like, my doctor wasn't even sure I had had a real period), I am convinced that it was because he had done such a quality job of tidying up my uterus.

You might look into acupuncture. It sounds like total woo, but there are legitimate medical studies out there that say it may help. I started it and got pregnant for the first time within two weeks, which does not indicate correlation in the least. But I will also say that when I was into my second pregnancy my acupuncturist brought up the possibility of gallbladder issues well before any of my medical doctors diagnosed it. So there's that completely useless anecdata :)

I feel like the calming experience of being cared for in a quiet room with essential oils was practically worth the fee on its own. At any rate, it's not contraindicated with regular medical care.

If you're worried about the cost of out-of-pocket acupuncture, there is something called "community acupuncture" which I guess involves more than one person in a room. Places will often have sliding scales, too.

I am overweight and was old-ish (34) when I first conceived. I agree with the stress issue (and the uselessness of telling you to stop stressing out).

Re: supplements for your husband, my husband was diagnosed with a sperm count on the lowish side of normal. The doctor told him to take a vitamin C supplement, which I felt was a really low-intervention thing to ask of him.

Sending you my best!
posted by St. Hubbins at 12:07 PM on March 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm pregnant at 40 and due in 3 months. This is the first time I even tried to get pregnant, and it happened 3 months after removing my Mirena, with no more preparation than starting to take a prenatal vitamin. I'm also overweight, out of shape, have a gastric bypass so I've got some nutrition issues, and was a smoker until the day I found out I was pregnant. My period has been regular (even with Mirena) and I too noticed that they got shorter as I progressed through my 30s.
posted by cabingirl at 12:10 PM on March 31, 2015


You don't know until you try! We were worried it would be a long uphill battle, but I got pregnant with my first after a few months of trying at 38 and it only took one try for my second at forty. Both natural conceptions and healthy, happy babies. I used the ovulation prediction test strips and highly recommend them. Talk to your OB.
posted by cestmoi15 at 12:24 PM on March 31, 2015


Three of my friends have had children after forty without medical intervention. All healthy, happy and a little tired:)

I will say that one of my friends did have an immunology issue that lead to multiple miscarriages, but she was able to have children once they figured it out and treated her for that.
posted by snickerdoodle at 12:33 PM on March 31, 2015


My mother was 40 when I was born. 43 for my younger brother. My wife was 42 when my son was born.
posted by Obscure Reference at 12:38 PM on March 31, 2015


When you say "natural," do you just mean "no IVF"? Because there are several smaller medical interventions that could be done that are far, far, far less expensive and complicated than IVF and could still increase your chances of conception. Just something to think about.
posted by needs more cowbell at 12:53 PM on March 31, 2015 [5 favorites]


On the topic of acupuncture, I was also surprised to discover that my insurance covered that, as well. You might look into it.
posted by vunder at 1:06 PM on March 31, 2015


What age was your mother when she went into menopause? Studies show the later your mother went into menopause, the larger the ovarian reserve you will have.

A friend of mine and his two siblings were all conceived and born after his mother turned 40. (This was in the 60s.) All natural!

And someone else in my social circle had baby #2 at 40, no problems.

Good luck!
posted by St. Peepsburg at 1:21 PM on March 31, 2015


My nan gave birth twice. She had my aunt when she was 40 and my mom when she was 43. And that was in the 1940s, when this place was still pretty isolated and not even part of Canada yet (and probably eating salt fish or beef a few days a week too). She had a fraction of the resources available to women today, but mom and aunt have had long, healthy, happy lives.

So yeah, definitely possible for you. Hope it happens, OP.
posted by futureisunwritten at 1:28 PM on March 31, 2015


Hi! I got pregnant at 41 (partner was 48), am and was overweight and out of shape, and my pregnancy was a *breeze*. I couldn't believe it. We simply had a lot of unprotected sex for quite a while and boom. I was a mom at 42!

I also drank alcohol throughout my pregnancy (I think I've posted about that here before), ate soft cheese a few times, didn't exercise like I should have and somehow gave birth to the smartest, hugest, most amazing lil gal ever.

It can happen! Good luck! (PS - my doc did describe it as "elderly primagravida," though. Ouch).
posted by tristeza at 1:48 PM on March 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yup, my grandmother had my aunt in her late 30's and my mom at 40 (grandpa was 50) in the early 1950's. My aunt was a preemie but was healthy, my mom was full-term.
posted by jrobin276 at 1:53 PM on March 31, 2015


(vunder apparently has really good and really unusual insurance. My insurance paid for nothing outside of labs. Hopefully yours is more on vunder's end of the spectrum.)
posted by vignettist at 1:53 PM on March 31, 2015


Lots of stories here, but I figure one more can't hurt, even secondhand: my best friend had two children and was planning to stop there. She got pregnant unexpectedly at age 41 and had a miscarriage, and then she and her husband decided that they wanted a third after all. She then got pregnant again with no medical treatments, just the usual way, and gave birth at 42 -- full term, vaginal birth, no complications. The youngest boy is four, healthy, and delightful.
posted by holborne at 1:57 PM on March 31, 2015


I had two kids before 40, and then a miscarriage, and then a month after I turned 41 naturally conceived my third child and had a couple of months before I turned 42. All healthy. The only disturbing thing was for it to be continually referred to an advanced age pregnancy. More tests, more precautions. Also, I was overweight, too.
posted by molasses at 2:31 PM on March 31, 2015


Oh, also: after my first pregnancy was nonviable, my doctor had me come in for progesterone injections every week during the first trimester of my second pregnancy. It had to be done in the office, and it probably made my morning sickness a little worse, but it only took like five minutes with a nurse, so it wasn't a big thing. With your history, you might end up dealing with that.
posted by St. Hubbins at 3:27 PM on March 31, 2015


Turned 40 while pregnant, drank espresso like it was going out of style throughout the pregnancy, occasional glass of wine, healthy 9+ lb. girl.
posted by mogget at 3:40 PM on March 31, 2015


My mom was 43 when I was born, so it can definitely happen! I was quite a surprise to my parents (dad was 45), but everything went very well and my mom had no complications except that I was super overdue. I think I was about 3 weeks past my due date before my mom finally let them do a c-section. My mom's biggest issue was that, because of her age, her doctor pressed her for a lot of additional testing (which she chose not to do for various reasons).
posted by I_love_the_rain at 4:19 PM on March 31, 2015


Progesterone can be given as a (daily) vaginal insert now. That's what most of the RE's are prescribing anyway. If you end up going the meds route and find that something is not covered by insurance, memail me, I can recommend some less costly alternatives.
posted by vignettist at 4:25 PM on March 31, 2015


I have two friends who just had beautiful, healthy babies over forty. They both got pregnant on their own, and had relatively normal pregnancies.
posted by Aquifer at 5:35 PM on March 31, 2015


My mother had her first at 35 (father 50), and her last at 45 (father 60yrs old). She conceived her last within 2 weeks of going off the pill. No treatment, all full term and big healthy babies (8.5 to 11lbs).

A great great grandmother of mine had her last (of 9) at 54. Poor woman!
posted by Thella at 6:01 PM on March 31, 2015


Wife and I had a daughter at 40 -1/2 (we are same age). No problems in labor or sequel.
posted by lathrop at 6:59 PM on March 31, 2015


Thanks everyone for all the information and stories! I can't tell you how encouraging this thread has been for me. Thanks so much.

To answer the questions posed: no, I never had a D&C and no, chromosomal abnormalities were neither ruled out or in. The reaction on the part of medical providers to the first miscarriage, at 9 weeks, was absolute indifference. It was explicitly said that first trimester miscarriages are common and that they don't start thinking there is a problem until the third or *maybe* second one. My next two miscarriages were really odd. Without going into a tremendous amount of detail, I didn't think I was even pregnant the third time, because I'd had what I thought was my period--4 or 5 days of bleeding that then stopped. Then I started bleeding again "between periods" but when I had my hcg levels tested they were high enough that I must have been pregnant during my "period". I pushed a bit more for an explanation, but nothing definitive was found. One doctor named a condition she thought I might have, which I really wish I could remember the name of, but apparently it could only be confirmed for sure on autopsy (of me).
posted by mysterious_stranger at 7:32 PM on March 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yep, it seems entirely possible (to my completely untrained eye) that you may just be dealing with garden variety Stuff -- a hassle, but perhaps fixable with less intervention than you think. When I was talking to people about what I went through, taking it to its logical conclusion in case we needed to deal with something more complex, so many people told me to a) look at the bloodwork and b) go to a reproductive endocrinologist if needed. They have different levels of intervention that I didn't even know about in some cases.

The thing is that even if a specialist visit takes time or money, it's still worth it if they hit on the one little thing that is taking even MORE of your time, brain space and emotional energy. See your usual OB/GYN and all, but do make a plan for when you might go see an RE, if you haven't already done so.
posted by St. Hubbins at 10:23 PM on March 31, 2015


You know when you're a teenager and they threaten you with "it only takes one time of unprotected sex!" Well, you hit 39 or 40 and all your friends are having IVF and it never occurs to you that it could ever happen so easily at your age? Well, uh, yeah it can. I had a ten month old son and I really wasn't ready for another quite that soon. I had unprotected sex once. Once. We were not fucking like bunnies, I was exhausted up all night with a baby and once was really all it took. She'll be two in June, is a complete joy and we couldn't be happier but our family is complete and it happened easily enough that my husband had since had a vasectomy to ensure our family stays at this level of completeness. Forty does not mean infertile, believe me.
posted by Jubey at 4:26 AM on April 1, 2015


my wife and i had two late first-trimester miscarriages (10-12 weeks) in our late 30's. she gave birth to a healthy baby boy in january at 38.

before the third pregnancy we saw a doctor that specializes in fertility issues and were tested for a bunch of stuff that all came back normal. he had my wife on a vaginal progesterone suppository as soon as she ovulated and for pretty much the entire first trimester. it seems to have worked so i would maybe see if that's an option!

the key is knowing when you ovulate by using those test strips so that you can (very romantically) time intercourse and the progesterone supplements. the doctor was also willing to prescribe something to 'force' ovulation but getting knocked up had never been our problem.
posted by noloveforned at 6:52 AM on April 1, 2015


I agree on the ovulation strips, to a degree. I rarely got a particularly obvious line; every time I waited for it to get brighter, it would fade away when I tested it again in a few hours.

Then again, that's something you can tell your doctors.

So go on Amazon and buy a crapton of those ultra cheap strip-only ovulation and pregnancy tests. I think the brand is Wondfo, and they are literally just tossed into a plastic bag and kind of thrown sideways into the box. You can do whatever you like with that quantity. I used them as whiskers when I had to craft a lion out of feminine hygiene products for GISHWHES.
posted by St. Hubbins at 1:18 PM on April 1, 2015


you might get pregnant super easily. then again, you might not. at your age, you have less time to dick around (heh), so my recommendation is to hie thee to a reproductive endocrinologist ASAP if it doesn't go smoothly the old-fashioned way. there are lots of things they can do before going to IVF, depending on the situation. i guess i'm saying not to waste time with an OB who will just throw clomid at you--go to the people who deal specifically with fertility.

i'm 37 and having my first kid tomorrow (!). here's what DIDN'T work for me:
having good lab #s for AMH and FSH, acupuncture, yoga, meditation, charting my cycle for 2 years & having lots of sex, supplements (chinese herbs from the acupuncturist + evening primrose oil, vitex, etc etc etc), mayan abdominal massage, anti-inflammatory diet, abstaining from booze/caffeine, prayer, researching adoption, an HSG, laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis, or "relaxing."

here's what did: IVF.
posted by apostrophe at 3:17 PM on April 1, 2015


We conceived without medical intervention of any sort when I was 44. My baby arrived when I was 2 months shy of age 45. I charted and used ovulation testers. I credit the charting with helping us conceive. Also, I didn't know the odds were seriously against us.

We had all the prenatal testing but all that can tell you is what your baby doesn't have. Ours turned out to have a disability that can't be tested for. We love him deeply and he's our greatest treasure. But O.M.G. we are tired. We both work full-time and we simply don't have the energy in our late forties/early fifties that we had even ten years ago despite being pretty healthy and in shape. Our adored and longed-for baby is now an active eight year old and it's hard to keep up with him. I feel bad for him sometimes that his parents are easily old enough to be his grandparents. Your future ten year old is going to want to rough house, play baseball, run around, go sledding, and go swimming. And he's going to want to do it with you, not for ten minutes here and there but all the time. Every weekend.

On top of that we have big worries about what will become of him when we're gone. Having a special needs kid is not something we expected. He's pretty cute now but he is growing up and it's becoming apparent he will need a lot of care, always. He has no siblings and only one cousin who lives on the other side of the country and is nearly 20 years older than our son. Who will love him and care for him? I don't know.

I strongly suggest you read up on the research that links children with autism born to older fathers. Your partner definitely falls in that category. Memail me if you want more information on that and on what it's like being an older parent to a disabled child.

Our son brings us great joy and I'm not sorry I had a child at 44+. But there was so much I didn't fully grasp about parenthood then. There's a reason you're supposed to have them when you're young. Many reasons, in fact. At least for us, getting pregnant and having the baby was by far the easiest part. I know your question is about conceiving after 40. I just wanted to share with you that there's more to it than just having a baby. It's a lot more complicated when you're older.
posted by Kangaroo at 5:54 PM on April 1, 2015


Oops, I missed answering a question: my mother was 50 when she went through menopause. Was 37 almost 38 when she had me.
posted by mysterious_stranger at 9:54 PM on April 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


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