Motherhood after 40: Fertility realities, risks, and partner's role

Written by: Mr Mahantesh Karoshi
Edited by: Kate Forristal

In his latest online article, Mr Mahatesh Karoshi gives us his insights into conceiving over 40. He discusses the realities, risks and concerns, partner’s role, finances and increasing the chance of pregnancy.




Fertility Realities:


For women in their 40s, the chances of conceiving in a single ovulation cycle drop significantly to about 5%, compared to the higher rate of 25% for those in their 20s and early 30s. However, it's not all doom and gloom. About 1 in 10 women over 40 can still conceive naturally, and many others turn to assisted reproductive technology (ART) for support.


The birth rate for mothers aged 40-44 has been on a steady rise, showing that more women are successfully becoming mothers later in life. Yet, it is crucial to understand that the overall fertility declines with age due to a decreased egg supply, leading to an increased risk of complications and miscarriage.



Risks and Concerns:


 Deciding to have a baby after 40 comes with a set of unique risks. For instance, the chances of a c-section due to delivery complications are nearly 50% for mothers over 40. Moreover, incidents of low-birth-weight and stillborn babies are higher in pregnancies after 40.


One of the primary reasons for these complications is the age-related decline in egg quality. Older eggs have a higher risk of chromosomal problems, which can lead to conditions like down’s syndrome. Pregnant women in their 40s also face an increased risk of pregnancy-related complications such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and placental issues.



Partner's Role and Financial Considerations:


While women often get the spotlight when it comes to age-related fertility issues, it's essential to recognise that sperm quality in men also deteriorates with age. Older men's sperm carries a higher rate of genetic defects, which can affect the health of the baby.


Delaying parenthood can have financial advantages as it allows couples to establish a stable foundation. However, it is essential to be aware that fertility treatments and procedures can strain finances, especially if conception does not occur as quickly as desired.



Increasing Chances of Pregnancy:


For women over 40 who are trying to conceive, seeking medical advice and considering important steps and preparations beforehand can be beneficial. Healthcare providers may refer women in their early 40s to fertility specialists if pregnancy doesn't occur after frequent unprotected sex for up to six months.


Fertility specialists can conduct tests to identify potential fertility issues and provide personalised advice based on individual circumstances. They may recommend various options, including assisted reproductive techniques, to enhance the chances of pregnancy.


Mr Mahantesh Karoshi is a highly respected consultant gynaecologist with over 10 years of experience. You can book an appointment with Mr Karoshi on his Top Doctors profile.

By Mr Mahantesh Karoshi
Obstetrics & gynaecology

Mr Mahantesh Karoshi is a London-based women’s health expert and consultant gynaecologist, with a special interest in ovarian cysts, heavy menstrual bleeding, infertility, fibroids, and adenomyosis. He is currently one of the most highly-rated gynaecologists in London with a very good reputation amongst his patients and peers.

Mr Karoshi's work is recognised internationally, having volunteered in Ethiopia’s Gimbie Hospital, and later receiving the Bernhard Baron Travelling Fellowship from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists which led to his work in the University of Buenos Aires. Here he worked on the techniques needed to surgically manage morbidly adherent placental disorders - a serious condition that can occur in women with multiple caesarean sections.

He believes in an open doctor-patient relationship, being sure to include the patient and educating them so that they understand their condition better and they can be directly involved in their care and management at every stage. Aside from his clinical work, he is actively involved in research, which together with his experience, has given him the opportunity to publish the first stand-alone textbook on postpartum haemorrhage which was launched by HRH Princess Anne.

At the core of Mr Karoshi's practice is a high standard of professionalism where patients are involved in their treatment and where the latest techniques and advancements are used to provide an extremely high level of care.

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