Friday, April 26, 2013

40 And Counting - Forward To Pregnancy

Are you one of those desperate women who are hopeful 40's, looking forward to donning a maternity dress, eager to flaunt a baby bump and thrilled to see a healthy, kicking, bundle-of joy at the end of nine months pregnancy? Well, if you are, do not be disappointed to find out that pregnancy at an advance age is not as easy as finding a nice, comfy maternity dress. You need to consider first how to get pregnant at 40 and decide if you can take the first challenge towards motherhood. Will you be willing to undergo routines, procedures and braved the knife, needles and blades, to finally get hold of that desperately hoped-for baby? So, why this late years of pregnancy?

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine enumerates the reasons why most women get pregnant late in their 30's or 40's:

  1. The availability and accessibility of contraceptive in the market encourages couple to delay pregnancy

  2. More women are engaged and preoccupied with their career; work comes first before child-bearing.

  3. Women were more cautious in preparing for a life in marriage and child-bearing, postponing pregnancy or get married at an older age.

  4. Couples opt to be financially secure delaying marriage or pregnancy at a later age.

  5. Many women are unaware that their fertility declines in their late 20's and early 30's.

Unlike men who continue to produce sperm their entire life, women are born with specific number of eggs in their ovaries--say, millions at birth-- but only 300,000-400,000 ova or eggs remain in the ovary after reaching puberty. Of the hundred thousand eggs left during puberty, only 300 eggs will be counted for ovulation in woman's entire reproductive years.

So, where do the rest of the eggs go? Forget the eggs-the eggs are bound to undergo Atresia (sounds like Amnesia, so you really have to forget them), a degenerative process by which the ova or eggs age and are naturally loss regardless of whether the woman got pregnant, has normal menstrual cycle, undergoing infertility treatment or use birth control. As a woman advances in age, fertility declines due to normal, age-related changes in the ovaries. Although age is not the only factor affecting fertility, it should be one of the major considerations if a woman aspires to get pregnant. Women in this era and time are more aware in taking care of their health, but an improved health and lifestyle does not offset the natural, age-related decline in fertility.

Conscious of the egg count, advancing age and the threat non conceiving at all, a woman might ask, how to get pregnant at 40?

First requirement: a man who can provide and guarantee a healthy, viable sperm (he can be a husband, a partner, a lover, an opposite sex for that matter). Sperm health and viability can be determined through infertility evaluation which the woman and her conception partner should undergo. For the woman, this would help in ruling out possible infertility issues including medical condition affecting her ability to conceive, while the man should undergo semen analysis to determine number of sperm, its volume, shape and mobility. The testing process should take no longer than three (3) months, and if treatment is necessary, it can be done immediately. Ensuring fertility of both woman and man is a must before trying any other methods and procedures.

Maintaining an ideal weight could also help in ensuring fertility. Overweight women have higher estrogen level which may suppress ovulation. Cigarette and alcohol consumption should be minimized or avoided since both increase the possibility of infertility.

When fertility is ensured, yet good, old-fashioned sexual intercourse does not result to conception and pregnancy, doctor- prescribed fertility method should be sought. Doctor may advise an Ovarian Hyper-stimulation, a first line treatment which includes medication or a combination of tablet administration and injection. This will stimulate ovum production.

Micro-surgery may also be recommended by the physician for women who have problem with their fallopian tube; this will help transport the ovum from ovary to the uterus.

In Vitro Fertilization is another alternative if medication, injection and surgery failed to deliver the desired result. It stimulates mature ova with medication and using fine needle guided by an ultrasound, egg are to be fertilized with the sperm outside the woman's body, after which, the resulting embryo will be injected back to the woman's body via cervix and released to the uterus where it can attach and grow.

Finally, if all the above methods fail, the doctor may recommend Egg donation which involves a female egg donor, preferably from a much younger woman. The donated egg is to be fertilized in the laboratory with the sperm, and transferred to a woman's uterus in a form of an embryo. This method proved to have a higher success rate in providing women over forty years old an opportunity to conceive, get pregnant and bear a child.

Forty- something- aspiring mothers can still look forward to the day when shopping for maternity dress and baby cribs are no longer a wish for the desperate, hopeless- pregnant- romantics, but an option medically available anywhere.

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