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Pregnancy in Women of Advanced Maternal Age

Fertility treatments make pregnancy at advanced maternal age possible

Our San Antonio fertility doctors often meet with women who are eager to learn more about advanced maternal age pregnancy, or a pregnancy that occurs after a woman turns 35 years of age or older. With more women delaying motherhood to focus on their education, careers and personal lives, this type of pregnancy is becoming more common – thanks to the use of fertility treatment.

Developing a treatment plan for advanced maternal age pregnancy

A woman is born with all of the eggs she will ever have, so egg quality and quantity naturally decrease as she ages. However, age does not have as much of an impact on the uterus. As a result, a healthy woman over the age of 35 can still successfully carry a pregnancy.

Some women over the age of 35 will be able to conceive on their own. However, as a woman ages, it is more likely that she will need fertility treatment to successfully achieve an advanced maternal age pregnancy.

To help develop an effective plan, our San Antonio fertility doctors will perform ovarian reserve testing to get an idea about the quantity and quality of the eggs a woman has in her ovaries. This provides valuable information about her fertility potential, which can help our physicians develop the best treatment plan for her unique situation.

Discussing advanced maternal age pregnancy treatment options

Fertility medications, in conjunction with timed intercourse or intrauterine insemination (IUI), can help some women achieve advanced maternal age pregnancy. However, because time is of the essence, our San Antonio fertility doctors often recommend that women progress rapidly to in vitro fertilization (IVF) with or without donor eggs.

  • IVF involves multiple steps. The woman first takes medications to stimulate eggs to develop within her ovaries. When the majority of the eggs are mature, she will receive a trigger shot and come in for egg retrieval approximately 36 hours later. The eggs will be combined with sperm from her partner or her donor, and they will be monitored for fertilization. As the risk of chromosomal abnormalities in embryos increases in women over the age of 35, many patients desire preimplantation genetic screening as part of their IVF cycle. This procedure allows her physician to separate chromosomally normal from chromosomally abnormal embryos, raising the likelihood of pregnancy per transfer while significantly reducing the risk of transferring a chromosomally abnormal embryo. Eventually, the woman will undergo either a fresh or frozen embryo transfer, and her physician will monitor her for pregnancy.
  • Donor egg IVF can help women experience the joys of pregnancy and parenthood, even if they no longer have viable eggs of their own. This is a form of IVF that uses healthy eggs from a young donor to provide a path to advanced maternal age pregnancy. The donor can either be someone the patient knows or she can be an anonymous donor.

If you are 35 or older and have not been able to conceive after six months of trying, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) recommends partnering with a fertility specialist for appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

Contact our San Antonio fertility doctors for an appointment to discuss how fertility treatment can help you become a mother.

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