Many women are starting families later in life. But what happens when you hit menopause? Can you get pregnant after menopause? Let’s take a closer look.
If you’re looking to start a family later in life, you’re not alone.
There are so many reasons why it might work for you to wait.
You might want to hold on until you feel emotionally ready and financially prepared — or until you have found the person you want to raise children with.
Or maybe it’s just taking longer than you planned. (The TTC struggle can be real.)
Put this all together, and you may be wondering — can you get pregnant after menopause? If so, what are your options?
In this article: 📝
- What is menopause?
- Can you ovulate after menopause?
- Can you still get pregnant after menopause?
- The lowdown on 35+ pregnancies
- What’s the oldest age a woman can get pregnant?
- What are the chances of getting pregnant after menopause?
- Can a woman get pregnant after menopause? The lowdown:
What is menopause?
Menopause is the point twelve months after you stop having periods.
Up to this point, these hormones have helped prepare your body for possible pregnancy.
They make sure that every month, the lining of your uterus builds up in preparation for implantation, and your ovaries release an egg.
And if that egg is not fertilized, they’ve also been responsible for it passing out of your body — together with that extra uterus lining and some blood — in the form of a period.
Can you ovulate after menopause?
When menopause hits, this process comes to an end.
The average age for menopause in North America is 51, and most women will usually experience it sometime between 40 and 58.
It can happen much earlier, though, which can be distressing for mothers trying to conceive.
🔎 Dig deeper: When Does Menopause Start?
Can you still get pregnant after menopause?
The simple answer to this is yes — sort of!
It just depends on how far along you are in your menopause journey.
To explain this more fully, let’s take a look at how menopause works.
After your periods have stopped completely, you won’t be able to conceive by having sex.
But you can still become pregnant once you’ve started experiencing menopause symptoms.
This is because the term ‘menopause’ is often used to cover the entire run-up to the time when your periods stop.
But actually, doctors split this all-important change into three stages:
This is a period of about three to five years when you’re producing less estrogen and progesterone.
It usually happens in your 40s, but can start earlier.
The good news is that while it may not be as easy as it was before, it is still possible to get pregnant if you’re going through perimenopause.
This is technically defined as the point when you’ve gone twelve months without having a period.
This final stage of postmenopause starts a year after your last period.
At this point, perimenopause symptoms might start to subside — although in some cases they could stick around for a year or more.
So the bottom line is, it is still possible to get pregnant naturally when you’re in perimenopause.
But since you’ll be releasing fewer eggs, it may be more difficult.
The lowdown on 35+ pregnancies
But the reality is, your chances of conceiving do decrease as you get older.
As well as this, 35+ pregnancies do come with some additional challenges.
The risk of pregnancy loss is higher as we age. And the possibility of your baby developing chromosomal abnormalities goes up.
There is a higher chance that your eggs might develop with an unusual number of chromosomes.
This can mean that they are less likely to implant properly, and can cause pregnancy loss or lead to your baby having genetic differences, like Downs’ syndrome.
But it’s still possible to have a totally healthy pregnancy when you’re a bit older, either with some help or without.
What’s the oldest age a woman can get pregnant?
One study of 58,000 women found that 50% were unable to conceive through sex at 41, nearly 90% were unable to do so at 45, and almost 100% couldn’t at 50.
But don’t give up! Women start perimenopause at different times, have different symptoms, and finally reach menopause at different stages too.
The good news is, there are other options.
What are the chances of getting pregnant after menopause?
Once your periods have stopped for twelve months, you’ll need some help to get pregnant.
This is because your ovaries have stopped releasing eggs.
But it is possible to become pregnant and give birth after menopause using in vitro fertilization, or IVF.
You can either use your own eggs that you’ve previously frozen or eggs from a donor.
Whichever route you choose, the eggs will be placed in a container with sperm from either your partner or a donor.
The goal is for the sperm to fertilize the eggs to create embryos, which will then be left to grow in a lab for a few days.
After this, they’ll be popped into your uterus and, with a bit of luck, will settle and start to grow!
Since your ovaries are the only part of your reproductive system impacted by menopause, pregnancy, and childbirth will work the same way after menopause as before.
Interestingly, some of the complications associated with 35+ pregnancies can be avoided by using IVF.
This is because implanted eggs from a younger woman — either your frozen eggs or a donor’s — are less likely to have chromosomal abnormalities than an older woman’s eggs.
So, the age you can become pregnant using fertility treatments will depend on a number of factors, including your overall health, the eggs you use, and what your fertility journey has been to date.
Can a woman get pregnant after menopause? The lowdown:
You can still get pregnant once you’ve started experiencing menopause symptoms, as you may still be in perimenopause.
True menopause happens when you haven’t had a period for 12 months. After this stage, you can’t get pregnant through sex.
After you have reached menopause, you can still use donor eggs or your own frozen eggs to get pregnant via IVF.
If you’re struggling to conceive at any age, or want to talk to other women about menopause, reach out to the Peanut community for support. We’re having the conversation.
All the best. ❤️
📚 More on menopause:
Can You Get Pregnant from Anal?
Do You Ovulate on Birth Control?
What Happens During Menopause?
How to Deal With Menopause
What to Know About Bleeding After Menopause
How Long Does Menopause Last?
Painful Sex After Menopause? What to Know
Are You Getting Cramps After Menopause?
Postmenopausal Bleeding: What to Know About Spotting After Menopause
Testosterone Pellets for Women: What to Know