Fertility after 42? You Still Have Options

There is no absolute cut-off age to have a child with your own eggs, but fertility treatments, such as IVF after 42, become increasingly complex.

older woman sitting near flowers

Life doesn’t always go as planned. You may have wanted to have kids earlier, but pursuing a career or not finding the right partner may have put those plans on hold. Fortunately, there are still choices for women over the age of 42.

A woman’s fertility can begin to decline as early as age 30 and continues to decrease until menopause. The regular loss of eggs over time leads to diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) in all women. Women’s fertility varies due to many factors including genetics, some women are infertile in the early 30s, while others may be fertile in their 40s.

However, almost all women may be able to deliver a child at an older age. There are many available options, and Loma Linda is willing to provide you guidance and effective action as you begin to grow your family after 42.

For women over the age of 42, fertility options begin to narrow. For these patients, time is of the essence, and couples commonly decide to move directly to in vitro fertilization (IVF) to maximize their chance of success. Fertility testing is always recommended for these patients prior to any decision, and if testing results suggest a very low chance of success with IVF, the use of donor eggs or embryo donation is the most successful treatment option available. By the age of 44, most women are not fertile and will not be able to become pregnant with their own eggs. For women in this age group, the use of donor eggs or embryo donation is usually the best choice.

A quick note about male factor infertility. Because new sperm are continuously created in the testes, the age of the sperm is of less of an issue than is the age of an egg. New eggs are not produced in the ovaries, all of a woman’s eggs were present at her birth. However, males can still lose fertility over time, and testing of all men prior to an IVF cycle is important to be sure that adequate numbers of sperm are present.

Fertility considerations for women over 42

Women over 42 years of age are more likely to require the services of a reproductive specialist to have a healthy pregnancy and delivery. If you are considering pregnancy, it is important for you to seek professional help.

The most common options for women after the age of 42 are:

  • IVF using your eggs. Unfortunately, success rates are generally poor with this approach.
  • IVF using donor eggs.
  • IVF using donated embryos.
  • Adoption.

We would be happy to discuss your situation and make realistic recommendations to maximize your chance of a successful pregnancy.

Contact LLU today to  schedule a fertility consultation.