There are always stories going around about people who are able to carry their babies to term throughout their late 40s, into their 50s, and even later.
However, is pregnancy still possible once someone has gone through menopause since this is the time in life when menstrual periods are supposed to stop.
As you can imagine, getting pregnant after menopause is incredibly rare, but it has been seen. Just in 2020 a 54-year-old Iranian woman gave birth after going through menopause over 5 years before.
And even in recent years, there have been fertility treatments which aim to help women who struggle to get pregnant even when they do not have a menstrual cycle.
So, if you want to know about the chances, and risks of getting pregnant after menopause, then we have the information here.
We know that menopause is a healthy part of getting older, and you will know that you have been through menopause when you have not had a period for more than 12 months in a row.
You will find that most women will go through menopause between the age of 45 and 55, however, it has been shown to happen later than this as well.
Then there is perimenopause, this is the menopausal transition which will happen between the late 30s or 40s and will tend to last for about 5 or more years. If you are going through perimenopause then you will notice changes to your period like lighter bleeding or more irregular cycles.
Over time, you will start to miss your period as your ovaries stop releasing eggs every month. During this period your body’s hormone levels will shift dramatically, specifically estrogen and progesterone.
These can lead to a variety of symptoms like irregular vaginal bleeding, sweating, hot flashes, insomnia, headaches, joint pain, and many other symptoms as well. So, if you have been through perimenopause, or menopause, can you get pregnant?
Pregnancy During Perimenopause
As we know, your fertility will decline as you get older, and when you get into your mid-30s, your ovarian reserve being the number and the quality of remaining eggs will start to get lower and lower.
Around 25% of couples who are in their 20s or 30s will be able to conceive in a cycle, however, this is down to 10% when in your 40s.
By the time you will notice the symptoms of perimenopause like missing a period, then your ovarian reserve will usually have already declined pretty significantly.
The changes in estrogen levels, the decreased sex drive, and the irregular periods also contribute to it being a lot harder to conceive as well in this phase.
For most women the chances of being able to get pregnant will decline after 30 and then there is a more rapid decline when you are in your 40s.
However, if you are not planning to get pregnant and going through menopause, you should still use protection.
If you are noticing symptoms similar to menopause and want to see if you can still have a baby, then we recommend getting fertility testing from a healthcare provider.
This is the period when someone will have permanently stopped having periods and this can vary widely, the average age women experience this is 51.
You will usually notice changes in weight, energy levels, health, mood and body composition as well. There can be some short and long term complications as well as; bone loss, high cholesterol, vaginal bleeding, and more.
You will find that a lot of these conditions are related to having lower estrogen levels, but others are just related to aging. Some of these effects can be combated by lifestyle changes or hormone therapy.
Pregnancy During Or After Menopause
Generally speaking, it is very unlikely that you will experience spontaneous pregnancy after you have gone through menopause. But, it is possible to get pregnant even during post menopause using a fertility treatment like IVF.
This is assisted reproductive technology which combines an egg with a sperm in a lab and then after it is fertilized it will then be transferred to the uterus of the woman. After menopause, you lose the ability to ovulate, which is releasing the eggs from the ovary.
So, if people in post menopause want to use this method, they will either use donated eggs, or use their own eggs which they have frozen for use in this situation. You can also use the sperm of a partner, or donation sperm as well.
Risks Of Pregnancy After Menopause
One of the main risks of going through with an IVF procedure at an older age is the risk of multiple pregnancy. You can have a fertility specialist transfer one embryo at a time to decrease chances of twins or triplets.
Also, if you get pregnant over the age of 35 there are increased risks of; premature birth, miscarriage, Cesarean section, babies with chromosomal abnormalities, and preeclampsia too.
This is why using donor eggs when doing IVF is often recommended since these issues can sometimes be avoided by doing this.
Hopefully this guide has put into perspective how pregnancy during or after menopause is still possible, but what the caveats to this are. As you have seen, the best chances of getting pregnant during perimenopause and after are through IVF.
However, if this is something that you have your heart set on, you should also remain aware of the effects and how you can help avoid them.
Using donor eggs can help avoid some of the risks, but of course, nothing is guaranteed. If you want to avoid having twins or triplets, you will also want the person doing the IVF procedure to take the necessary steps to separate the embryos.
However, it is definitely possible, and there are options. However, IVF can be expensive, so looking into alternatives can be very informative as well. Make sure you are making the best choices for your health as well as pregnancy later in life can be very dangerous.