Trying to get pregnant and 1 or more of the following applies to you?
You’re over 37 years old, possibly in your 40s
Diagnosed with low AMH, high FSH, premature ovarian failure (POF), premature ovarian insufficiency (POI), poor egg quality, diminished ovarian reserve (DOR), or advanced maternal age (AMA)
You’ve been told by your fertility doctors that it’s too late for you to get pregnant with your own eggs so you should consider donor eggs.
Despite what mainstream medicine may tell you, many women can still get pregnant with their own child into their 40s. Increasing your chances for a healthy baby in this stage of your life requires approaching your fertility in a more holistic way.
Don't think of your ability to get pregnant from the common reductionistic viewpoint of just your reproductive organs. Rather, reframe your fertility as a natural outflow of optimal overall health. In that way, many opportunities open up for you to increase your success.
Why is getting pregnant into your 40s more difficult than when you were younger?
Before we get into ways to improve your fertility, understanding what happens to your fertility as you get older is important so you know the why to the what.
As you age, your cells become less efficient. Like a car, the parts wear down over time and with use.
Part of the reason for the decreased efficiency is that the longer you’re alive on this planet, the more toxins you’re exposed to. Those toxins accumulate in your cells to impair ALL functions, including those that get you pregnant.
Your metabolism slows so you have to watch what you're eating. You can't run as fast. Your vision worsens. Your skin is less youthful. You're more forgetful.
Your eggs are just as vulnerable as any other cell to the effects of aging.
This is why your chances of getting pregnant decrease as you get older. Any online fertility calculator will show your odds decreasing with each year. The fertility statistics are dismal as you get further into your 40s.
In fact, pregnancy chances get so low that IVF doctors (specialists known as reproductive endocrinologists or more simply, REs) either recommend doing in vitro fertilization (IVF) right away or going straight to donor eggs.
But there may still be hope for you to conceive. Naturally or with IVF.
Before we get to the good news, let's get a little more understanding of the medical side of fertility treatments.
How do fertility doctors determine if you can still get pregnant?
With blood tests & ultrasound...
The ultrasound visualizes how many potential eggs you may have - the basal antral follicle count (AFC).
The AFC can give an indication of your ovarian reserve, or how many eggs you have left.
An antral (resting) follicle is a small, fluid-filled sac that contains an immature egg. Follicles are not the same thing as eggs. However, in using them interchangeably for simplicity's sake, even by doctors, they create a lot of confusion.
What you see with the baseline AFC ultrasound are NOT your eggs, but the follicles that your eggs are in. You need a microscope to see an egg - it's too small to see with an ultrasound.
Remember that baggie of goldfish you got from the state fair when you were a girl? Think of the bag as the follicle, the water as the follicular fluid, and the egg as the goldfish. Remember that image whenever you hear “follicle.”