Perimenopause and Getting Pregnant
on Nov 15, 2012
by Dr. Christine Lee, MD
It is possible to get pregnant during perimenopause, as this is the time before menopause. While possible, it is more difficult as eggs are not as healthy nor as plentiful.
Perimenopause can be defined as the period before menopause, namely the time when a woman’s body starts producing fertility hormones like estrogen in smaller quantities, eventually leading to the complete installation of menopause. Perimenopause and getting pregnant are interrelated in more than one way: as the quality and the quantity of the eggs produced are both decreasing during perimenopause, conception becomes more difficult, but not impossible. Claim Your 20 Free Pregnancy Tests – Click Here
The term perimenopause is frequently used to describe the time when a woman first experiences the symptoms of menopause, usually after the age of 40. However, during this period, the ovaries are still active, still producing healthy eggs; but the chances to achieve pregnancy the natural way are decreasing rapidly. In what follows, we would like to present 3 possible ways of achieving pregnancy in perimenopause.
Though female fertility takes the path of rapid decline after the age of 40, surprise pregnancies are not rare in this age group. Despite the fact that a woman’s ovarian reserve is considerably diminished by the time she turns 40, the ovaries can still produce eggs that are healthy and strong enough to become fertilized without any medical help. The difficulty in achieving pregnancy during perimenopause is not only due to the decreased number of eggs produced, but also because this is the period when the menstrual cycle becomes irregular and unpredictable, and so does ovulation.
Ladies in their early forties who want to have a baby can go for the option of in-vitro fertilization. Assisted reproductive technologies offer ladies two options: fertilization with their own eggs or with donor eggs. The younger the patient is, the more chance she stands to be able to conceive through IVF with her own eggs. The procedure implies a treatment with hormones to induce ovulation, followed by the retrieval of the patient’s mature egg and the fertilization of the egg with the male partner’s or a donor’s sperm. In the final stage of the procedure, the egg is replanted into the patient’s uterus, where the embryo will grow into a baby.
If the woman’s body no longer produces mature eggs or the eggs produced are of poor quality, IVF can be performed using oocytes coming from another woman, that is, with donor eggs. If the patient is over 45 years of age, the chances of producing strong eggs of her own are usually quite low, IVF with donor eggs being the solution recommended for these ladies.
As you see, perimenopause and getting pregnant are not contradictory terms: a healthy pregnancy is possible at a more mature age as well, and if you are healthy, there is really no obstacle to experiencing the miracle of pregnancy and childbirth at this age.
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Dr. Christine Lee earned her Ph.D. in Developmental Biology and Master of Science in Biomolecular Organization. Dr. Lee is Lab Director for ConceiveEasy and is board certified as a High Complexity Laboratory Director (HCLD).