Getting pregnant when you are over 40 years of age poses more health risks than when you are in your 20s. Aside from the potential health risks, women in their 40s should be aware that according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the chances of a woman conceiving dramatically decrease every year after the age of 30. This does not mean a woman cannot have a baby as thousands do every year over the age of 40. What it does mean is that a woman in her 40s may need the assistance of fertility treatments to become pregnant.
Besides fertility drugs like clomiphene, there are two broad categories of fertility treatments. One is intrauterine insemination (IUI) and the other is assisted reproductive technology (ART). IUI, or “artificial insemination” as it is commonly called, is a procedure where a woman is injected with sperm that is prepared in a certain way to make them more viable. A woman may be asked to take fertility drugs prior to the IUI procedure to make certain that she has ovulated. The HHS cites three common reasons when IUI is used:
1. Mild causes of male infertility
2. For women who have problems with their cervical mucus
3. Couples with unexplained fertility problems
Assisted reproductive technology is a general term for several procedures to help infertile women and couples. In essence, eggs are removed from the woman’s body ad these eggs are mixed with sperm to create embryos. The embryos are then placed back into the woman’s body in the hopes that at lease one embryo will implant itself to the uterus.
If you decide that ART is the best treatment option for infertility, do not pin all your hopes on it. There are many factors that effect the success rate of ART. The Office on Women’s Health list several reasons behind the success or failure of ART:
1. Age of the partners
2. Infertility causes
3. The fertility clinic
4. The type of ART used
5. If fresh or frozen eggs were used
6. If the embryo is fresh or frozen