Getting pregnant at 45 is possible — although it can be quite a surprise!
Whether you are pregnant at 45, want to get pregnant at 45, or you’re simply exploring your options, there are some things to be aware of.
We believe that conversations around fertility (and particularly fertility as we get older) should be had kindly.
So as part of the Peanut #RenamingRevolution, we’re taking on terms like “geriatric pregnancy” and “advanced maternal age.”
(Both of these are better understood with a term that tells you exactly what they are — a 35+ pregnancy.)
Together with linguists and medical professionals, our goal is to take the shame and hurt out of unhelpful, outdated terminology related to motherhood and pregnancy, so there might be terms here that you’re not familiar with.
The TTC journey can be tough enough.
The last thing you need is unkind words to add to the challenges.
With that in mind, let’s dive in.
In this article: 📝
- What are the chances of getting pregnant at 45?
- What are the risks of getting pregnant at 45?
- How to get pregnant at 45
- Accidentally pregnant at 45
What are the chances of getting pregnant at 45?
From the age of 45, you have about a three to four percent chance of getting pregnant.
According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, your peak reproductive years are between your late teens and your late 20s.
After you turn 30, your fertility starts to decline.
And after 35, it starts to decline more quickly.
If you haven’t hit menopause yet (defined as the time twelve months after your last period), there’s still a chance that you can get pregnant.
After menopause, your ovaries stop releasing eggs.
And if there’s no egg for sperm to meet up with, conception (and therefore pregnancy) is impossible.
We’re born with a fixed number of eggs in our ovaries.
As we age, our egg supply decreases.
And the reality is, it can get harder to get pregnant as you get older.
But getting pregnant at 45 can happen, particularly with ART (Assisted Reproductive Technologies).
So what are ARTs, and how do they increase the chances of getting pregnant?
There are lots of types of ART, like medication to induce ovulation, IUI, IVF, ICSI with IVF, and gestational surrogacy.
As for how they increase your chances of getting pregnant, well, it depends, on your health, lifestyle, budget, and general situation — after all, there’s more than one way to start a family.
For some people, this can be an avenue to getting pregnant later in life — but there are some things you should bear in mind.
What are the risks of getting pregnant at 45?
As we age, pregnancy becomes riskier.
- You’re more susceptible to health complications like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia (a blood pressure condition related to pregnancy).
- The chance of having a preterm birth or placenta previa (where the placenta covers the opening of the cervix) goes up.
- There’s a higher risk of multiple gestation — twins and triplets, for example.
- You might have to stay in the hospital for longer after baby’s born.
After the age of 35, the chances of having a baby with chromosomal abnormalities also increase.
That’s because aging affects something called meiosis, which is the process of cell division that gives us our sex cells (sperm or eggs).
The bottom line is that the chances of pregnancy-related health complications increase as you get older.
The more you’re aware of the risks involved, the more informed you’ll be when you make decisions about what’s right for you.
How to get pregnant at 45
Many people are having kids later in life — with 20% of women in the U.S. now having their first baby when they’re 35+.
And there are so many reasons why this might be appropriate for you.
You might want to establish your career before you have kids, save money, get more stamps in your passport, or find a partner to do this thing with.
Your reasons are valid, whatever they are.
If this is where you’re at, your next question might be how.
Getting pregnant “naturally” at 45 isn’t very likely, but it’s worth a try.
If it doesn’t happen, ART is a good next step — but be aware that it can be expensive and that there are no guarantees.
IVF (in-vitro fertilization) is the most common form of ART.
In most cases, you’ll start by taking medication that helps your eggs mature so that they can be fertilized.
They’ll then be removed from your body and fertilized externally.
When they’re put back, you may become pregnant if one of the fertilized eggs implants in your uterus.
You can also use donor eggs from someone else, which can be a great option if you have reproductive struggles related to your egg supply.
(Insemination is a different process, where sperm is delivered right to your cervix or uterus.)
And while ARTs can help some people become pregnant, it’s unfortunately not a surefire thing.
It also often doesn’t work on the first try, particularly as you get older.
About 21% of the participants in this study (all 44 years and older) were able to get pregnant.
Unfortunately, 85.3% of them experienced pregnancy loss.
The TTC journey can be extremely stressful and sometimes heartbreaking.
You don’t have to go through it alone.
Reach out to your Peanut community.
Support is available from other people who understand the unique ups and downs that come with fertility challenges.
Accidentally pregnant at 45
While it’s not very likely, it is possible to get pregnant accidentally at 45+.
So if this isn’t what you want, talk to your doctor about birth control options.
The good news is that if you’re perimenopausal (i.e., in the chapter leading up to menopause) and experiencing the symptoms that go with it, some types of birth control may help with this too!
They might also protect against bone loss.
The best thing to do is to navigate your reproductive health with a healthcare professional.
Our bodies and needs are all different.
Know that your experience matters.
And if you want some support along the way, remember the Peanut community.
We’re here for you.