Fertility After 40

{a guest post by Sally}

Many women wonder if fertility after 40 is possible. I’m one who can now say it’s very possible to conceive and have a happy, healthy pregnancy over 35 and even age 40.

My husband and I didn’t meet until we were both 33 years old. We married the next year and decided to wait a couple years before trying for kids. We knew our chances of getting pregnant were more slim the older we got, but we wanted to take the first few years to get established in our marriage and get to know each other. We had both been single our whole lives up until then.

We were 37 when we first started trying for children. I knew that I was considered “advanced age” when it came to conception. We tried casually for a few months, then I decided to see a doctor for her input when we didn’t get pregnant during that time. She gave me some tips on having intercourse every other day starting on day 10 of my cycle. She also wanted to have me get an HSG (hysterosalpingogram) in order to see if my tubes were blocked.

Yet, there was no reason for me to think they were at this point, and I didn’t like the thought of having blue dye shot into my body. I also read about the cramping and other possible symptoms from this test. I decided to try to learn as much as possible about my cycle on my own and figure out how to make my body as healthy and fertile as possible by natural means first.

After about 5 months I became pregnant without much knowledge of my cycles yet. My husband and I happily told everyone early on, not thinking that miscarriage would even be anoption. We did miscarry, however, after six weeks. Our hearts were broken, and I wanted more than ever to have a baby to hold.

It would be 13 more months before I conceived again. During this time I studied and learned as much as I could about fertility and ovulation and sought diligently to get my hormones stabilized and in the best condition possible for conception.

I began to eat as healthy as I knew at the time and drinking herbal infusions I knew were fertility boosters and general tonics for the female system. The main two I utilized were nettle and red raspberry leaf.

I learned to take my basal body temperatures, check for fertile cervical fluid before ovulation, and also began using ovulation predictor strips to test my LH levels and determine when ovulation would occur for the month.

I was already utilizing evening primrose oil to help promote fertile cervical fluid and vitex to help keep my hormones balanced each month.

I lost my second pregnancy early on as well and was told it was the same cause as the first, a blighted ovum.

I decided to go against doctor’s advice and try again right away. For a couple months my husband and I had been drinking a drink loaded with spirulina and also taking capsules filled with maca root powder.

I believe these two superfoods helped me improve my fertility, get pregnant, and stay pregnant at age 39.

Spirulina is a blue-green algae that is commonly fed to birds and fish to increase their fertility, but it also works wonders for humans in regard to fertility and overall health because of the richness of vitamins and minerals. It benefits the endocrine, nervous, immune, and metabolic systems. The high-protein content may be why spirulina tends to improve fertility.

Maca is also considered a superfood. It not only improves fertility, but it is also great for boosting libido, which can be greatly hindered by monthly scheduled baby-making sessions. It is thought to improve egg quality and I believe it did just that for me. We women are thought to have the total amount of eggs we will have in our lives when we’re born, and it is also thought that the quality of our eggs diminishes the older we get. Thus, the reasoning behind lower fertility as we get older.

{More about these and other fertility herbs I utilized}

With my second son, I got pregnant at age 41 after a few months trying. We were again taking maca and drinking the spiriulina drink. My beautiful sons are such precious gifts from God, and we are forever grateful that He blessed us with children!

 

Sally is passionate about helping other women improve their fertility and get pregnant more quickly. Her pregnancies at ages 39 and 41 are detailed at Getting Pregnant Fast  along with the herbs and techniques she used.

Donielle Baker

Donielle Baker

owner and editor of Natural Fertility and Wellness at Natural Fertility and Wellness
Donielle is an author, amateur herbalist, lover of real food, and an advocate for natural health. She has a passion for nourishing nutrition, natural living, and spreading the word on how food truly affects our health, so much so that she is currently taking courses to become a master herbalist. Her personal background includes both infertility and miscarriage and she began this blog in order to share all of the information she found helpful in her journey to healing.
Donielle Baker
Donielle Baker
Donielle Baker
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Comments

  1. Can you give a few details on when you take the evening primrose oil, vitex, and Maca? Is it everyday, all month? I am wanting to conceive as soon as possible, been trying for 4 months but I know my cycles are long (34-36 days) and feel my hormones are off. Any advice would be awesome. I do follow Paleo diet, supplement with vitamin Bcomplex, B12, Cod Liver Oil, Probiotics, Magnesium and digestive enzymes.

    Thanks for any help you can give.

  2. Lori – I took the EPO from the end of menstrual bleeding until knowing ovulation had occurred. EPO helps to improve the quality of a woman’s cervical fluid. When trying to conceive, it’s not advisable to continue taking EPO after ovulation, as its safety during early pregnancy isn’t known.

    Vitex helps to stimulate ovulation by increasing luteinizing hormone (or LH) as well as normalizing hormone levels and promote regular menstruation. Vitex should be taken from after menstrual bleeding until the next month’s bleeding begins.

    Maca can also be taken all month with a break during menstrual bleeding and is great for the male partner as well. Maca has normalizing effects on hormone levels. The usual dose of maca is 500-1000 mg per day (as per most bottles), either in capsule or powder form. However, my husband and I took a much larger dose of around 3000-5000 mg per day or about 1 to 2 heaping teaspoons. The only thing to look out for with maca is not taking it close to bedtime due to the stimulating effects.

    Thanks for your great questions! Hope my answer helps some and that you’re able to conceive quickly!

  3. Hi, i came across your website. I am 45, i know, old right? Im Debbie. finally met the man of my dreams at 45. we were pregnant for 3 weeks. My Doc said after i miscarried, he didnt know why, sometimes this just happens. I get that. i had to have a D & C, i was bleeding too heavy .
    they wanted to destroy my womb with an ablation surgery, because i have fibroids. i refused. I have had a baby, shes 19 and such a blessing. but with winston, my soul mate, we have no children. and he has never known the joy of being a parent. i want so much to have a baby with him. i have wanted a another blessing for years, but did not have a partner, with the same desire. I have tried ,hormone therapy, it worked, but i miscarried. my dr says keep trying, and we will. just wondering if there are any tips we can get to help. Thanks :)

  4. I just wanted to say I too was AMA; conceived at 40 delivered at 41…had a tubal reversal 9/2011 positive pregnancy 12/2011; healthy 8.8lbs 21 3/4 in baby boy delivered 8/2012! Good Luck to all of you ~ Misty

  5. hello, came across your website a today. I am 44yrs old, just got married husband 10 yrs younger, but currently living abroad hoping to be here next month. i have been trying to improve my fertility by taking all those herbs mentioned including omega 3 oil, eating healthily as well as taking multi-vitamin for ttc women. My cycles are between 24 – 26 days now, two years ago it only lasted two days, but since taking the Vitex its three, admittedly lighter than four years ago. The main problem is working out my ovulation days, I feel change prior to bleeding , but detect little or no mucus, have been using the ovulation saliva monitor, but have never seen any ferning. (found it the easiest and cheapest method to monitor ovulation) Will not visit any medics until my husband arrives. I just know that my window of opportunity narrows with each passing cycle. Would appreciate your thoughts on this. I have toyed with the idea of testing egg quality and egg quantity…so at least all this energy and finance is not in vain. regards lillian

    • donielle says:

      @lillian, Have you ever tried taking your basal temps? That’s usually a really good clue as to when and if you ovulate.

    • @lillian, I highly recommend using maca to help improve egg quality in women and sperm quality in men, especially with couples over 40. Maca can also help balance hormones, which could positively affect your cervical fluid. You could also try borage oil, which is fantastic for improving CM (as well as balancing hormones and keeping PMS and mood swings at bay).

  6. Marian21 says:

    Trying to get pregnant after 40? Learn the best tips and very useful information about conceiving a baby when you’re over 40 at this amazing and free website!

    http://get-pregnant-after-40.blogspot.com/

  7. Did you continue maca through pregnancy? I’ve been taking it for two yrs and love it. Just found out I’m pregnant and not sure I can give it up?? :(

    • @Merle, I haven’t used it before a pregnancy, so I can’t really let you know what I did.
      Being it is an actual food and not a supplement, you are probably safe to continue, though always check with a health practitioner. If you do decide to stop taking it, you might want to think about gradually reducing your intake.

    • @Merle, I did not continue maca through my pregnancies, but I believe it would be safe. Please check with your healthcare provider first, though, as Donielle mentioned.

  8. Kilana Butler says:

    Hello, came across this site. I’m glad to know that others at 40 have also had children.

  9. Kilana Butler says:

    My, Husband and I have been working on baby #2 for our 4 1/2 year old son. It’s been 2 years or more now. I have all the books and spent a lot of $$ on ovulation kits. I have tried checking my body temp. and it does not work for me because my son still wakes up 3 times in the night. I’ve checked my c/m and never got the SPIN or egg white. I just can’t tell when I ovulate. I have zero insurance and only by chance got my blood tested and found out my eggs are not dropping. I have regular periods 26-28 days however they only last for 3 days. I spot for 4 days before and after my 3 days of red flow is what I call it. I know that stress has a lot to do with my lack of fertility. In the last 3 years my husband has lost his job 4 times. We’ve been on food stamps had to sell our house move in with family. Got back on our feet and my husband lost his job again and again had to pack up and move. Now we live with family and we had to move across country and our poor son had to leave all his friends and the only home he knows. I hope that my husband get’s a spot for his new job so we can get out of the in-law’s house and move and then start back on the baby making. I what to get my body ready with yoga and food. I just get sad at every period each month. Help. I turned 40 in June and really believed I was pregnant. I guess I was just late due to stress.

    • @Kilana Butler, I’m so sorry for your struggles, infertility is tough. But even with getting up at night, you may be able to check your basal temps! You’ll see a small variation each day, but you should still be able to see a temp shift IF you’ve ovulated. (and as we age, we gradually begin to skip ovulating some months)

      You may want to begin researching low progesterone as sometimes that can cause spotting before your period, and it’s something that our bodies begin to produce less of as we age.

  10. I just turned 40 in may 2013 & have been trying to conceive since may 15th 2012 with my husband after a tubal reversal & have been unsuccessful because of my husbands sperm count being low & I think him talking his blood pressure meds & insulin plays a part also. He is 11yrs younger than I & has no children but wants some & after my tubal reversal everything checked out fine with me & i have 3 children from previous relationships. I am thinking of trying the Macca Powder or capsules for him & myself do you think they will work? We had his sperm tested & they said the quantity should make up for the potentcy so i just pray & hope it works out. What do you think?

  11. Melodie says:

    I had also heard about the use of Maca in helping with fertility issues. I have been so frustrated dealing with a hormonal imbalancement (which has been corrected), hypothyroidism, anemia and PCOS. I want to try Maca but I am worried of the interactions with my other medications that I’m taking. I had heard that naturopathic medication causes the blood to thin out and have to be careful of that seeming I am taking other meds. Any thoughts on this?

    • “Naturopathic medicine” is a fairly vague term as naturopathic doctors choose to use many different forms of natural medicine (herbs, supplements, food, alternative therapies, etc). When looking at adding any supplement when you’re currently on meds, it’s important to look at that specific one and see what interactions it may cause as not all, or even many, of them cause blood thinning.

      You mention hypothyroidism, have you have a full thyroid panel done? Have they checked for thyroid antibodies? Both are really helpful at figuring out what’s really going on and treating the root cause may very well help deal with hormone imbalance and PCOS.

  12. Hi My name is Rama. I am trying to have a baby since 4 1/2 years. My age is 43 years. I miscarried at 6 weeks when i was 41. Since then trying to conceive but no success. I took DHEA for 3 months then my FSH jumped to 32.5 my endocrinologist refused to do ivf. Then i stopped DHEA and i went to accupunture then after 1 month my FSH dropped to 12.5. Then had ivf. got only one egg. fertilized and grown to day 3 after that stopped growing. My AMH levels are 0.02 which are extremely low. Since 3 months i am taking herbal teas like red clover, nettles, salvia,
    My problem is my follicle ovulates at 18mm on day 11. How much i try it is not growing more then 18mm on natural cycle even in the ivf cycle also follicle did not grow more than 18mm. my follicular phase is 11 days and luethal phase is 14 days. after ovulation my temperature will not jump to high it remains at a low temperature that was on the ovulation day for 2 days after ovualtion and them it jumps to a little higher after 2 days and remains high for 12 days.
    Can anybody give any suggestion how to concieve based on this history of me.

  13. Minara Begum says:

    Please can you tell me exactly what fertility herbs supplements you took.

    Thanks
    Minara

  14. I am 40. Trying to conceive for a while now our 3rd child. I have spotting between cycles and sometimes late cycles. Will Maca and spirulina help with this? I am uncomfortable with vitex because I’ve heard it can make your cycles heavier or longer if you already have regular cycles. Or would progesterone cream be a good alternative. And lastly is it best to do lighter exercises rather than strenuous during this time. I was doing boot camp classes, spinning and cardio boxing. I have changed to walking on the treadmill and zumba. Thanks.

    • From what I know, moderate exercise is probably better than anything extremely strenuous while trying to conceive.

      I have heard the same thing about vitex and would be apprehensive to use it unless directed to do so by a qualified herbalist. Progesterone cream is an alternative, but it’s also helpful to have it checked so you really know what you’re dealing with. (spotting can signal low progesterone sometimes)

      Maca and spirulina are whole foods that pack a nutritional punch. Many women find them helpful for this reason as their bodies needed those nutrients, other women don’t see a lot of change as that wasn’t their issue. So it’s hard to give a blanket statement that those supplements would work for you as it varies so much and depends on your health.

      If you don’t already, charting may be helpful in figuring out when you ovulate, especially since you mention late cycles.

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