A Look At Some Factors Involved In Pregnancy At Or After Age 50
At the age of 50, what are the chances of having another child? Is there anything you can do to increase fertility?
The expert answers
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the oldest spontaneous pregnancy in modern times occurred in a woman who delivered when she was aged 57 years, 120 days.
When a female child is born, she already has all the eggs that she will ever have. No more will be produced. This is in contrast to men who continue to make sperm throughout their lives. So, as more time passes, there is the potential for more problems to occur with these eggs.
Chromosomal aberrations become quite common. At the age of 49, the incidence of Down Syndrome (Trisomy 21) is 1 in 11, with an overall risk for chromosomal problems of 1 in 7. Most chromosomal aberrant eggs are unable to be fertilized. The majority of those that do manage to become fertilized result in a spontaneous miscarriage, or fail to implant altogether. This is well demonstrated by looking at spontaneous miscarriage rates. For women under age 20, 12 percent of pregnancies will result in miscarriage. The overall risk of miscarriage in women over 40 jumps to approximately 75 percent.
Studies looking at the miscarriage rates associated with egg donation have demonstrated that aging has little to no affect on the ability of the uterus to house a pregnancy. The only increase in miscarriage was seen when egg donors were over the age of 35, again showing the affects of aging on egg quality.
Pregnancy at 50 is not impossible. However, if pregnancy is desired, the most favorable rates would be associated with the use of an egg donor.