Pregnancy After Age 50: Is It Advisable

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With celebrities giving birth to babies at 45, and sometimes older than that, it’s easy to forget that pregnancy does, in fact, become difficult as you age. Many factors contribute and conspire to make a healthy pregnancy and conception difficult for older women. So, is it possible for you to conceive at the age of 50 and after? Well, yes it is! Thanks to science, women as old as 55 and even 65 can now do what was previously perceived as unthinkable- become pregnant and give birth to a healthy child. But, how? Let us find out below!

Typically, a woman’s ability to conceive ends with menopause, which means 12 consecutive months without menstruation. The average age of menopause is 51, after which natural pregnancy is not possible. During this period, both periods and menstrual cycle become irregular and eventually end. Even when the periods are regular, quality of the eggs of women in their forties is lower than the eggs in young women, making it hard to conceive a healthy baby, particularly after 42. By the time a woman is 40, just three percent of her eggs remain, which are insufficient for conceiving. Men, on the contrary, remain fertile through their lives, but the risk of genetic defects increases with the paternal age effect.

So how can you get pregnant at 50 or after? Well, a healthy pregnancy is near to impossible at this age. Only 0.01 percent of natural births occur in women aged 47 and above. The only way for such women to become pregnant is by vitro fertilization and egg donation. Here is some more information on the subject.

How To Get Started?

To give yourself a chance for normal pregnancy and a healthy and fit baby, we would suggest you take a few steps before you try to conceive. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for the pregnancy.

  • If you are in your 50s, consult a fetal specialist, if you don’t get pregnant even after having unprotected sex for over six months. Or you can visit a specialist right away, especially if you have specific reasons for not being able to get pregnant like ovulation difficulties, irregular or missed periods or problem with your spouse’s sperm.
  • The specialist will prescribe some tests to check whether you have problems with the ovaries function or not. He will also check for problems with the Fallopian tubes or with your partner’s sperm.
  • If everything is fine, then most probably, your egg quality has declined, or you have become infertile. The special will next advise you on the options, depending on your condition. Vitro fertilization and egg donation would most probably be recommended.
  • For egg donation method, you will first be screened, which include an ultrasound of the uterus to ensure that you can carry the baby and blood tests. Then you have to go through a psychological evaluation to make sure that you are mentally prepared to have a baby who is not genetically related to you.

[ Read: How Does Age Affect Pregnancy ]

  • Internist would be the best person to look into this matter. The internist will have a look at anemia, hypertension, pulmonary problems, heart problems, diabetes and other conditions that could get worse during pregnancy.
  • Once the woman is cleared, she will take estrogen, hormones, and progesterone for four and a half weeks to prepare her uterus for receiving the fertilized eggs. After the egg is implanted in her uterus, the woman will continue to take the estrogen for another eight weeks. Besides, she will also prescribe progesterone, a shot that she has to take home until the 10th week of pregnancy.

Advantages of Getting Pregnant After 50

Believe it or not, there are several benefits of becoming a mother when you are older than 50. Here are a few:

1. Late Mothers Live Longer:

A study conducted by the University of Utah found that women who have babies in their 50s tend to live longer, whether they conceive naturally or through other methods.

2. Financially Secure:

Waiting to become a mother also has its share of financial benefits. A U.S. study found that a woman’s earning increase 9 to 10% every year she delays having a child. When you are a parent, especially single parent and are late for work, it can cost you your job. Very few bosses are considerate to single mothers. So you will be a lot more relaxed at this stage of life, both mentally and financially.

3. You Are Likely To Be More Experienced:

One of the biggest advantages of late pregnancy is that you have seen the most of the world and know how things work. You are more comfortable, secure in your career, and are likely to make wiser parenting decisions.

[ Read: Step By Step IVF Treatment ]

Drawbacks of Getting Pregnant At 50 Years Or After

Postponing the parenthood and having babies at and after 50 can also cause some serious problems. These include:

1. Health Risk:

In the year 2012, a study revealed that the health of women aged 50 or older who conceived using donated eggs was as good as for the younger recipients, provided they were well cared for during and after pregnancy. But some medical risks do exist. Late pregnancy increases the possibility of diabetes, hypertension, and preeclampsia, a complication characterized by high blood pressure and even organ damage in some cases. Besides theses, growth restriction, stillbirth, preterm delivery and multiple births are potential complications.

2. Physically Harder:

Pregnancy is physically hard on older women, and the weight of carrying a child can be stressful for women over than it would be for young women.

3. Risk To Newborns:

Not just the mom-to-be, even the newborns face certain risks, for example, Down syndrome and genetic abnormalities. You can minimize the possibility of these risks by using eggs of young donors.

[ Read: Pregnancy After 45 ]

4. Financial Strain:

One last thing, while there are monetary advantages of having babies later in life, there are liabilities as well. The more you wait, the more likely you are to continue working at an older age. You will have financial responsibilities at a time when most of your friends are planning retirement. Healthcare and life insurance are likely to get even more expensive. And the cost of fertility treatments adds up to the burden.

We hope you find our post helpful. We have covered almost everything you need to know for conceiving at and after 50. Now it’s totally up to you to decide.

Do you have some tips to share with women contemplating pregnancy after 50? Then let us know in the comment section below.

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shreeja pillai

Shreeja holds a postgraduate degree in Chemistry and diploma in Drug Regulatory Affairs. Before joining MomJunction, she worked as a research analyst with a leading multinational pharmaceutical company. Her interest in the field of medical research has developed her passion for writing research-based articles. As a writer, she aims at providing informative articles on health and pharma, especially related to... more