Getting pregnant is more challenging for women at 40 than it is for their younger counterparts. This is because around the age of 32, according to the Mayo Clinic, a woman’s fertility begins to decline. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, a woman’s chance of getting pregnant at age 40 is approximately five percent every month. This compares to 20 percent for the average 30-year-old woman. While the odds are not great, there are a few ways to increase the chance of getting pregnant at age 40.
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Take your basal body temperature every morning. Your basal body temperature, or BBT, is your body’s core temperature before you get out of bed. Taken at the same time every morning, your BBT can tell you many things about your menstrual cycle. It goes up when you ovulate, and stays high for about 14 days, dropping again when your next cycle begins. Your BBT can tell you whether or not you are ovulating and also when your most fertile days are. Chart several menstrual cycles this way to check for trends or irregularities.
If you ovulate, have intercourse during the few days before you expect to do so. These are your most fertile days. Timing intercourse during your most fertile days increases your chance of getting pregnant, especially at age 40, because these are the days most likely to result in conception during your entire cycle. If you normally ovulate on day 14, start having intercourse around day 10 or 11.
Give up smoking. According to the Mayo Clinic, smoking not only decreases your chances of getting pregnant every month, but it is also a common cause of miscarriage. Because women at age 40 have only a five-percent chance of getting pregnant any given month, quitting smoking can help the odds.
Watch what you drink. The Mayo Clinic reports that excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption can also interfere with conception. Both can also lead to miscarriage after conception. If you are 40 and trying to get pregnant, switch your cocktail to a virgin and learn to love decaf.
Give fertility-enhancing drugs a try. If you are 40 and have not been able to get pregnant even after following the steps above, it may be time to see a specialist. A fertility doctor can prescribe drugs that mimic the body’s hormones, increasing the growth of follicles (follicles are what release eggs into the fallopian tubes to become fertilized) or inducing ovulation at the optimal time. These types of drugs may be used in combination to increase your odds of successful fertilization.
Try assistive reproductive technologies. Assistive reproductive technologies, or ARTs, can increase your odds of getting pregnant at age 40. According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, the main ARTs used in fertility treatments are intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF). IUI involves injecting sperm directly into the uterus at the time of ovulation, and is often used in combination with fertility-enhancing drugs. IVF involves injecting already fertilized eggs into the uterus. Some forms even assist the egg to implant in the uterine wall.