How Old is Too Old to Have a Baby?

Women’s Fertility Debate

In the United States, women ages 40 to 44 had 114,730 babies in 2017, while women 45 and older had 9,325 babies in the same year, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

While many women over the age of 40 are having children, the natural ability to become pregnant begins a steep decline around age 37, reaching odds of less than 10 percent by age 40, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

What are The Risks?

Thousands of older women are having babies without medical complications for the baby or mother, but risks do rise with age. While a miscarriage can happen to anyone, women ages 35 to 45 have a 20 to 35 percent chance of a miscarriage, compared with women under 35 who average a 5 percent chance of a miscarriage.

Additionally, the chances of developing gestational diabetes and high blood pressure increase with age, and do instances of premature births and the need for a C-section. Older uteruses may not be able to contract for vaginal deliveries, and it’s more difficult for older women to carry multiples, which is common when women use fertility treatments to get pregnant.

What are Other Options?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer as to whether you should attempt to get pregnant if you’re 40 or older. But, if you believe you are capable of caring for a child, there are ways to become a parent either naturally or through methods such as egg donation and surrogacy.

If you’re interested in in vitro fertilization, whether now or in the future, you can choose to freeze some of your eggs for use when you decide to conceive. This allows you to use younger eggs despite being more mature in life. Surrogacy is another alternative. Surrogates at Growing Generations are typically 21-38, have already delivered children of their own and have access to a wealth of resources that benefit them and you.

If you are considering surrogacy, or you are thinking about being a surrogate or egg donor, click here to take the next step.

Dr. Kim Bergman

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 26 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for over two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for Intended Parents, Surrogates and Donors. She is the co-owner of Fertility Counseling Services and Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national Emeritus board of the Family Equality Council. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman’s is the author of the upcoming book, Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Conari Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. Her two daughters are in college.