The reality about being over 45 and conceiving naturally

By on March 2, 2014

It’s not often I rant — however I’m going to this morning.

About once a month I receive an email from a mom who has conceived naturally without help, who is over the age of 45 and has had a child that’s healthy.

I am genuinely happy for this mom that her LGE ( last good egg) baby was born without any complications and healthy. Because I feel babies are wonderful and that if you want to become a parent you should.

What I don’t appreciate are emails judging our organization intimating that we are deceiving the masses about fertility and that we need to be encouraging our women 40 and over that Egg Donation is not the solution but that diligence, faith, and dedication to giving a baby is.

My thinking is that these women have blinders on because they did get pregnant and they did have a baby whereas many of our intended mothers over 40 struggle valiantly to do just that.

The reality is if you are 40 and over your ability to have a child without aid and with your own genetics falls to about 5-7%. Once you reach the age of 42 to 44 that percentage drops to about 2%. And when you hit the magic age of 45 your percentage drops even lower to about 1%.

To add insult to injury – those women over 40 that are pregnant with their own eggs have a much higher incidence of miscarriage – in fact, miscarriage rates begin to skyrocket in your 40s! From age 40 to 44, the rate is 35 percent, and it dramatically rises rises to more than 50 percent for women 45 and older (compared to 10 percent at age 20 and 12 percent at age 30).

So please pay attention to your fertility – do not be little lured, lulled or enticed in anyway thinking that your fertility is safe and that once you hit 40 it’s going to be a picnic to have a baby.

The reality is – it’s not.

Remember – we assist over 9,000 intended parents and parents via egg donation each year. I receive about 12 emails a year from women 45 and over who have had their child with their own eggs and conceived naturally. That’s a little over 1% The population that contacts us.

You do the math.

  1. Reply

    Jolene Nell

    March 2, 2014

    Thank you, thank you, thank you – I see the posts as well “Don’t give up!” and while I am thrilled for the women who have that miracle, I cringe at the false hope it gives so many other women. Just because it happens for one woman has nothing what so ever to do with the reproduction possibilities of another…

  2. Reply


    March 26, 2014

    This is 100 percent accurate! I started fertility treatment at 39 and wish it would have been explained clearer in the beginning how low my chances were in conceiving by my doctors. Fortunately I found a doctor who was very clear and knowledgeable and he told me at 40 my chances were less than 10 percent doing oe Ivf. That was a no brainier for me. I did de Ivf and have a baby girl. I am so grateful for donors and donor eggs because it is the only way that I am a parent today.

  3. Reply


    April 29, 2015

    I’m not sure how I found this post, but it really hit home. Part of the reason why I waited so long to accept the DE path (I’m 47 and only now 18 wks pregnant with my first), was because I believed the idea that “with diligence, faith and dedication,” I could still conceive naturally. God knows I tried. I even hired a Fertility Coach who herself had conceived naturally at 46. With every failed cycle, I felt that I must not have had strong enough faith; that maybe some women were more favored by the divine than I was… It really messed with my head.

    Do I believe it’s possible for women to conceive naturally after 45? Sure. But as you point out, it is exceedingly rare. In my case, when my husband and I finally moved on to DE, we discovered, among other things, that he had some of his own gamete issues – that despite being on a strict “fertility diet” with me, which included acupuncture and handfuls of supplements, he had been firing a lot of blanks! There was no question that we would need ICSI.

    I thought back on the deeply wounded, existentially-despondent self I was every time I got my period and wanted to give that diligent, dedicated lady a hug. Turns out, it wasn’t (only) me, and I DID have enough faith, damnit!

    There are a lot of factors that go into infertility, many of which are unfortunate, scientific realities. Plus, it should go without saying that DE parents by and large choose this path after exhausting all other possibilities. So to suggest that conceiving after 45 naturally is a realistic possibility for most people is not only untrue, it is insulting and even dangerous.

    Thank you for speaking up!



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March 2014
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