artificial insemination

Pregnancy Risks after 35-40 years of age: How bad are they really?

Urban living has brought along with its many conveniences. Fast food, career opportunities, domestic help, and connectivity have helped many Indian women don on blazers and take on active roles in the corporate sector. A downside is that it has led to them delay growing their family by a few years.

Urban women are considering the burden of childrearing far more bothersome than childbearing itself. The newly wedded population of Urban India acknowledges that raising a child is a full-time job in itself and would require massive compromises on career, leisure, and so on. Many women prefer to push this phase, often considered an exponential increase in responsibility, by a few more years.

The big question around this postponement has always been: How risky is it? Here’s the gist.

The Biological Clock Warning – Every woman must have heard this statement from her doctors, friends, family, and even her internal voice. The biological clock waits for no one. The fertility of a woman decreases as she ages. The number of eggs remaining, as well as their effectiveness, declines over time. Out of those who opted for artificial insemination, only 54% of women aged 35 and above were able to get pregnant within a year.

Miscarriage – It is possibly one of the most traumatic events that could happen to an expectant mother. The risk of fetal loss stood at 8.9% for women aged 20-24 but drastically increased to 74% for those over the age of 45. We can find a clear co-relation between age and the risk of miscarriage.

Risk of Stillbirth – The risk of stillbirth has seen to increase in women as they get older. Out of 1000 pregnancies, 4.7 ended in stillbirth for women aged 18-34. This risk increased to 6.1 for women aged 35-40 and 8.1 for 40 years and above. Those who have crossed 35 years of age are often asked by their doctors to induce labour before their due date.

Genetic Risks – The risk of the child having down syndrome also increases as the woman ages. A study shows that for a woman aged 25, the risk of the child having down syndrome is 1 in 1064. However, for a woman aged 35, the risk increases to 1 in 280. At the age of 40, the risk is even more pronounced at 1 in 53.

The peak of a woman’s fertility can be mapped out too late teens to late twenties. The fertility – both in terms of quality and quantity, begins its descent in the early 30s and becomes much more emphatic from the age of 35 onwards.

Think of the number of eggs as a fixed number of golden coupons you get at the start of your life. The number of ‘coupons’ start reducing as you age. You may also notice these coupons don’t look as bright and shiny as the ones you received early on. That is exactly how eggs work in a woman’s body. Yes, life comes with a multitude of challenges. The cost of living has been on a steady increase. The focus of achieving goals is important too. However, if you are keen on being a parent and on experiencing the joys of motherhood, it is important to evaluate the risks and take your decisions wisely.

‘There’s no point crying over spilled milk’ is a saying that rings true to every woman postponing motherhood. We humans are built to adapt and take on challenges head on. Parenthood is a challenging time, but it is also one that is filled with immeasurable joys.


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