Having A Baby After Age 35

Having A Baby After Age 35

Having a baby after 35 which is medically considered as an advanced maternal age may involve certain complications thereby labelling the pregnancy as high risk. Some of the complications that a woman can experience are miscarriage, gestational diabetes and hypertension, and even chromosomal abnormalities in the baby. Along with complication that women may face once they conceive, conceiving itself poses a challenge once the age of the woman increases. Thanks to the progress in science today there are many fertility treatment options available to help these women to conceive and fulfil their dream of becoming a mother.

Are you older than 35, or are trying to postpone your pregnancy? If yes then you may want to consider that pregnancy after 35 may come with its own set of difficulties. Many women tend to delay pregnancy up until they are in their late 30s owing to various reasons like pursuing a career, financial instability, and late marriages. If you plan to postpone your pregnancy, remember to discuss it with your doctor and explore the option that may be available to you for fertility preservation and also understand the pros and cons of your decision as well as the process of fertility preservation.

Certain things you may want to consider while deciding to postpone your conception

  • Women are born with a finite number of eggs, which constantly decline as the age increases at an advanced maternal age the reserve may be on its decline and hence pose a difficulty in conceiving. A woman’s peak reproductive years are between the late teens and late 20s. By age 30, fertility (the ability to get pregnant) starts to decline. Once the age increases it’s not only the number of eggs which is affected, it is even the quality of eggs which is affected. A good way to know your ovarian reserve is to do a blood AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone) levels
  • As the age of a woman increases chances of chromosomal abnormalities in the child which is conceived also increases, like Downs Syndrome etc. Women who are planning to conceive at an advanced age may consider screening their embryos of any such chromosomal abnormalities by doing an IVF cycle and then sending their embryos for Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT) making sure that the embryo which is transferred is chromosomally normal
  • Pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure may get exacerbated or may manifest de novo. And this can have effects on the baby and may lead to premature delivery or small for gestation age babies
  • Sometimes postponing one’s pregnancy may not be a choice but a forced decision in view of medical conditions like cancer, endometriosis and autoimmune disorders like hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, SLE etc. the treatment for which are cumbersome and time consuming and may lead to the loss of precious time in respect to fertility potential. An advised thing to do would be to discuss fertility preservation with your treating doctors and your fertility expert.
  • Any woman can plan to freeze her fertility in time. If she is married she can choose to cryopreserve (freeze) her embryos (egg plus sperm) or her oocytes (eggs) if she is single. Fertility preservation allows you to get pregnant at a later age with the fertility potential of the younger age, the age at which you chose to freeze your gametes.

I believe fertility preservation is the most empowering thing that has happened to the woman of today. It allows her to dream and achieve without worrying about her biological clock.

Takeaway: Though postponing the pregnancy and conceiving in later life is possible. As you age, the reproductive potential deteriorates along with the overall well-being. You need to be fit to be pregnant and take care of your baby. Try to plan your pregnancy as early as possible. Weigh out the pros and cons of delaying the pregnancy. Discuss with your fertility expert about fertility preservation (eggs or embryos). Adhere to healthy lifestyle modifications such as exercising on the daily basis, eat a well-balanced diet, give up on alcohol and smoking and take your vitamins on time.

Dr Ritu Hinduja

Fertility Consultant, Nova IVF Fertility, Mumbai