What do all of these celebrities have in common?
All had a baby after age forty, and all of their births were met with a flurry of publicity in a wide range of magazines, newspapers, and of course online.
Their stories are often uplifting and demonstrate that it is possible to have children after 40 and even after 45.
What many of these stories fail to discuss is that by and large, these celebrities needed a little extra help from a fertility specialist.
In most cases, celebrities are very quiet about how they were able to conceive. They share their joy, but they are very careful to avoid any discussion of whether:
- IVF was involved
- A donor egg was used
- A gestational carrier was needed
One celebrity who has been more forthcoming is Nicole Kidman. She has been open about the fact that she and husband Keith Urban had their baby using a gestational carrier.
While no one should feel compelled to share the details of their journey toward growing their family, this lack of transparency does have a drawback.
It creates the illusion that any woman can have a child after forty without extra help.
The fact is, for most women, getting pregnant after forty becomes increasingly difficult. This often has nothing to do with the overall health of the parents. A woman is simply born with a limited number of eggs, and as she ages, the available eggs tend to be of diminishing quality.
Also, while men can technically become fathers at any age, the overall quality of their sperm will also decline as they get older.
Often this can lead to aneuploidy, which can result in recurring miscarriages.
In vitro fertilization (IVF), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and Comprehensive Chromosome Screening (CCS) (also called, pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS)) can help improve a patient’s chances of having a healthy baby. Alternatively, if a woman does not have a viable egg, a healthier donor egg (obtained from a woman in her 20s) may be required.
Another option for patients who want to delay parenting is to take advantage of cryopreservation of their gametes while they’re younger. This technique, referred to as fertility preservation, allows women to freeze and store younger eggs and/or embryos that are more likely to result in a successful pregnancy down the road. Since the major limitation of fertility is the age of the egg and not the uterus, this approach increases success for women who want a biological child later in life.
Whether you’re ready to get pregnant now, or are looking for advice to help you grow your family in the future, the time to talk with a fertility specialist is now.
Talking with a specialist can help you plan ahead and learn about options that you may not have known exist.
If you have questions, or if you’d like to learn more about me or my practice, schedule your new patient consultation today or call us at (949) 706-2229.