woman in 40sForty is the new thirty, some people say. And with the improvements in lifestyle choices (and the introduction of many easy plastic surgery options), looking great into your 40s is more of a norm than it might have been in the past. Looking great isn’t going to help you get pregnant, however. Not looking your age is no help when it comes to getting pregnant.

The fact is, when it comes to fertility, 40 is still 40.

Many women entered early adulthood with the impression that they could delay childbearing well into their 40s. Some of these women pursued careers or went to graduate programs. They delayed finding a partner and settling down to start a family until they were well-established and financially secure.

All of these things are good. Having the resources to care for your family is an important responsibility for any parent. A fulfilling career based on hard work and education is admirable and a great accomplishment that builds the confidence needed for these women to shape young children into the people they have the potential to become.

However, these women cannot delay childbearing well into their 40s as they thought. Unfortunately, many of these accomplished and successful women realize too late that it’s too late.

Many women have the impression that if they keep up their health, stay fit, and avoid bad habits such as smoking and drinking, they will also keep up their fertility well in to their 40s. Others assume if they have a regular period month after month, they are still ovulating, so they must still be able to conceive. Still others see celebrities who claim they became pregnant at 46 with no mention of fertility treatment, so they assume they can, too.

Fertility is determined by the amount of eggs you have left and the quality of those eggs remaining. When either diminishes, so does your fertility. Typically, by your 40s, both are occurring at the same time. That’s why getting pregnant becomes harder with each passing month.

Also, many women will continue to have regular periods for a long time, up to 10 years, after their viable eggs have run out. The cycle itself is not an indication that there was ovulation of a healthy egg.

Finally, the celebrities that celebrate their pregnancies with their fan base don’t always share the details of how they got pregnant. It is their prerogative not to share the personal details with the public, of course. However, it’s important to bear in mind that the chance of conceiving late in your 40s is exceedingly rare without the help of assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization, and it is even rarer to occur with your own eggs. Many celebrities had a donor egg and IVF help in their happy news — whether they admit it or not.

According to some experts, as many as 29 percent of women will experience infertility between the ages of 40 and 44. When you compare that to only 7 percent of women in their 20s and 15 percent of women in their early 30s, you see why time is of the essence in your 40s.

While keeping up your health, staying fit and avoiding bad habits do benefit your fertility, they can’t turn back time. It is important if you are considering trying to conceive in your 40s that you see a fertility specialist as soon as you think you might be struggling. ART treatments can give you your best possible chance to be successful in getting pregnant and starting the family you always wanted someday, now that someday has arrived.

Sources:

Gurevich, Rachel. “What Are the Chances of Getting Pregnant After 40?” infertility.about.com. Web. 16 November 2015. .

“Getting pregnant in your 40s.” www.babcentre.co.uk. Web. 16 November 2015. .