Fertility Over 40: What You Need to Know

Fertility Over 40: What You Need to Know

Posted: Updated:

UPDATE:

From Managing Editor Ramona Schindelheim:

Congratulations are in order.

Our FOX 11 News series Fertility Over 40 has won a Gracie Award for Outstanding Series, which is presented by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation.

We're in good company.


From Anchor Maria Quiban:

After having had a child when I was younger, I never thought I'd have a problem getting pregnant again when my husband and I decided to start a family. I had seen others in their 40s having babies, but never realized until we started trying, that they more than likely had "help". After seeing my doctor and taking a simple test, I was told that my chances of conceiving on my own were slim to none. We were told of the harsh realities regarding a woman's ovulating cycles and egg production. I don't remember learning those statistics back in health class! And in our case, those statistics were right on the money.

And speaking of money, that's when we realized we would have to spend quite a bit after talking to a reproductive specialist. We had long conversations about our options, our faith and the reality of having our own baby. Despite the odds we moved forward with every step leading up to IVF. They all failed. It was devastating. We decided on not trying again.

And then, you hear the stories of how people who stop trying, all of sudden get pregnant. Seems unbelievable, but that's exactly what happened to us. I'm not sure if it was the acupuncturist I continued to see, the herbs and special teas I drank or just taking the pressure off ourselves when we "stopped trying", but somehow we got pregnant! Our lives have never been the same. We are very fortunate. We're enjoying and appreciating every second we have with our little one.

From Sports Anchor Liz Habib:

This is a very personal story. When I told my husband I was going public he was open to it, but he said, "Are you sure you want to share that?" I second guessed myself a thousand times but if just one couple hears our story and it makes a difference then yes, I do want to go public. I already know that my story has made a difference to a very good friend of mine, she didn't wait and now she and her partner have a beautiful baby girl.

I guess I thought I was different, that I would be like all the actresses my age who are having children: Halle Berry, Julia Roberts, Kelly Preston. Whether natural or not, if they could do it and splash their beautiful faces and their children's faces all over the tabloids, then why not me?

As I learned, there are many reasons. 

It may seem like a sad story but it's not, it's a story about learning and sharing and not hiding. There's a little girl named Annika alive in the world today because I am going public.

From Anchor Christine Devine:

"We're fit and we eat healthy!"  Those words made me cringe and chuckle all at the same time. My dear friend was clueless when it came to fertility.

He was in his late 30's and fit in every way. His new wife is the picture of perfect health too. The couple was about eight years younger than me and I felt it my friend duty to one day have "the baby talk."

In fact, I've been on mission to chat up fertility with all friends and colleagues in their thirties. One mom gives me some credit for the conversation and her baby. Another woman realized finding Mr. Right did indeed matter. Bottom line, I find too many career women realize too late in life that not only does the biological clock tick... it stops.  It hits that certain "hour" and fertility becomes not only a problem but darn near impossible without expensive trips to the reproductive doctor. I can't tell you how many women/couples I know who've had miscarriages.

 


 

A wake-up call for women who want to be a mom. And it comes from other women.

A new study interviewed those who got pregnant through IVF after age 40. Almost half were shocked to find they needed fertility treatments. Some blamed celebs having babies, others blamed media, and yet others says family and friends let to a misperception.

Here's a look at one couple's journey with in vitro.

Jacqueline and Reef Hardy had no idea fertility over 40 was an issue. They married later in life and Jacqueline is the first to say she had no idea her clock was ticking. Looking at their options they gave in vitro fertilization a shot. Jacqueline says, like many women, she was shocked to think she needed IVF. "I was healthy, I had a great career" she states.

From the Southern California Reproductive Center, their doctor, Mark Surrey, with the reality that fertility declines with age due to genetics. I asked him, "if you could sum it up in one word for fertility over 40 you say what?" His response, "technology."

For the Hardys, becoming a family took technology.  They went through in vitro fertilization not once, but three times. They made lots of embryos but none were healthy until the third try.

It cost them 50-thousand dollars. With two failed pregnancies they'd almost given up and were looking at other options. To their joy, they produced one healthy embryo, it split, resulting in twins. Jacqueline was 45 years old when she gave birth to Noelle and Grace.

Dr. Surrey says for women over 40 the fertility rate is just 5 - 10%. At 47 - 48, that drops to one percent. He says women need to be pro-active. Some women turn to a donor egg. Others use a surrogate.

Women in their 30's may want to consider freezing their healthy eggs. They can be stored indefinitely and used when you're ready. Others opt for adoption.

The Hardys have two beautiful little girls. On this day, the girls were dressed as little princesses. For this couple, in vitro was the route that created the family beyond their dreams. Again, reminding readers, they had no idea they'd be faced with looking at options, and perhaps that is the greater message.

 

 


 

 

Nearly 1/2 of women who became pregnant through IVF after age 40 were shocked to discover they needed fertility treatments

-Study by UC San Francisco

I was never the girl who "always wanted to be a mom."  I was the girl who said, well, "if I find Mr. Right, and it felt right to have a family, we'd do it." Unfortunately, I didn't get engaged until my late 30's and then we played the game of "getting to know one another."  Then time took over and we both got busy with work and life.

 Cultural trend in delaying pregnancy:

1 in 5 women now has her first child over 35.

CDC-Centers for Disease Control

I was among the many women shocked to learn that fertility over forty was an issue. Like my friend, I too said "I was young and fit." A fertility doctor tells me way too many women think they can "just do pilates and all will be fine."

The chances of getting pregnant over 40 is five percent.

-Southern California Center for Reproductive Medicine

So many women/couples tell me of their tries at having a baby. So many couples who waited also tell me of a miscarriage. I too tried, and lost the baby very early on. It is a heartbreakingly painful experience.

 Women in their 40s have a miscarriage rate of 33%.

-Southern California Center for Reproductive Medicine

We're talking about this now, because of the study out of UC San Francisco that showed many women were clueless about fertility and basically thought their fertility would last longer than it did. Those that wait may also find they are faced with tough choices of either never having children, adoption, IVF, or using donor eggs, or a surrogate.

My friend does now have a gorgeous son. I can't take credit, but I like to think I got the couple thinking. My friend had always wanted to have a baby.

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