Pregnancy at 45 years? Or TTC at any age …
This week sees a mad scramble for people of all ages in Australia to celebrate Father’s Day. What to buy for your Father who potentially has everything he needs and does not really want for very much at all!
Personally I am not a fan of any of the commercial days that are dictated to me by society, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day included, because I am a big believer in telling your loved ones that they are appreciated all the time and making that extra effort for them, for no reason at all.
I think if you have a great relationship with your parents anyway, these days are redundant, as you are catching up regularly and at the very least keeping in touch if distances are too great. Besides we have Christmas, Easter, Birthdays as well as the normal catch ups … so much time to spend with our loved ones throughout the year already.
Never the less for all those people who do celebrate, I wish you all a very special time with your loved ones.
Now let’s jump right in and talk about achieving pregnancy at 45…
Recently I spoke with a client who asked me about getting pregnant at the age of 45 years old. She had miscarried the previous cycle and was wanting to know if there were any tips to give her on getting pregnant quickly.
Statistically speaking humans have a 25% chance of conception naturally in any given cycle with the highest percentage seen with 22-26 year old women, this rapidly declines with age. At the age of 45 years it is anywhere from 1-3% at the very highest.
Surprisingly a survey of university students recently showed that 55% did not know about declining fertility in women, when it started and how low the conception rate was in the first place. They were also unaware that male fertility also declines with age. This was alarming considering these students will go on to put career first and likely delay parenthood until their 30’s or perhaps even later.
First let’s mention some definitions here, the oocyte is the egg. The follicle is like a cyst and is filled with follicular fluid as it develops and the oocyte matures within this follicle.
In a natural cycle, one follicle will be recruited by the body to develop, this looks like a black bubble on the ultrasound screens. At the time of ovulation the follicle has reached a good size and ruptures, releasing the mature oocyte to travel down the fallopian tube in the hope of fertilisation.
Remembering that when we are born, women already have all the oocytes that they will ever release. So your eggs are as old as you are and this is a cause of fertility problems.
Humans have the worst conception rates of any species, Rabbits, Horses, Cows and Mice in the high 90% and then Humans 25% at the highest. Why?
There will be many thoughts along with this question, including the actual thought itself. As the apex predator, we can eat what we want, often not the healthiest food. We over eat which is not a healthy option either. We are sedentary, which is not the healthiest activity for good health. Our environmental factors also contribute to our declining fertility. However this line of thought will be discussed in an upcoming episode.
Now if I am giving advice on achieving pregnancy naturally, there are 3 things that I could discuss in no particular order.
• Know Your Cycle
• Optimal Sperm Sample
So a very important consideration is knowing your cycle, when exactly do you ovulate? Most women I speak to are a little off when it comes to this answer and it is crucial for the timing of intercourse during your window of fertility.
Ovulation depends largely on your cycle length, in the most basic calculation we are looking at the number of days in your cycle. Most women are familiar with their cycle length.
Your cycle length is how many days in between getting your periods. Day 1 is considered to be the first day of bleeding.
• 28 day cycle you would expect ovulation to occur at Day 14
• 35 day cycle you would expect ovulation to occur at Day 21
• 40 day cycle you would expect ovulation to occur at Day 26
The general equation is that ovulation occurs 14 days before your period starts, as I said this is a rough calculation based on a normally cycling female without any other identified problems.
Naturally you can check for other signs of ovulation with the easiest method being to check the mucous discharge, around the time of ovulation this changes to be the most receptive to sperm. It is clear and stringy and extremely helpful for sperm to swim through and find that elusive egg!
Temperature changes are also observed around the time of ovulation, however you will need to be monitoring your daily temperatures, which can be hard to remember at the best of times. The effort required to record daily temperature of your body generally puts most people off this method. Normal basal body temperature is 36.1-36.4 degrees Celsius, at the time of ovulation temperature rises to 36.4-37 degrees Celsius.
Another way to determine ovulation is to purchase the ovulation kits from a Pharmacy this is the most expensive option. Approximately $35-$40 for tracking throughout your cycle.
When you know your approximate ovulation day, you can then move onto the next consideration which is the Optimal Sperm Sample.
We are talking in very general terms here and naturally we are assuming a normal sperm sample here for the male.
To get the best sample of sperm the male needs to refrain from ejaculation for 3-5 days ideally.
To be clear that is no ejaculation, not just no sex at this time, as abstinence is from ejaculation not sex guys … sorry!
If you had a 35 day cycle for example, you would be ovulating on Day 21 approximately, so I would be recommending intercourse on Day 18, 21 and 24. This will give the optimal amount and best quality of sperm during the most fertile window in your cycle. Does this make sense? If not send me a message and we can discuss your dates and optimal times.
Prior to Day 18 of your cycle, there should ideally be no ejaculation/sex from Day 15 at the earliest. Most men are happy with this scenario as they are guaranteed sex for at least 4 days in this small window of time!
We are of course assuming many things here, that ovulation is occurring every month, the sperm sample is normal and there are no other health issues impeding a natural conception.
The last consideration is diet and lifestyle. Again we are talking in very general terms here. When I am doing the Discovery Calls we dive a little deeper into what you are eating every day. How much is your sugar intake? Do you drink soft drinks and energy drinks? Are you taking sugar in your tea and coffee? All these habits increase your sugar intake significantly and this is known to decrease your chances of achieving pregnancy.
A recent study in the Journal of Epidemiology in North America showed a 25% reduction in fecundity (chance of achieving pregnancy) for women and a 33% reduction for men, when looking only at the sugar laden drinks and energy drinks.
We could have another episode entirely on particular dietary needs and supplements, the general thought process however is to eat less processed foods, preservatives and sugars, which will increase your bodies’ health.
On a simple scale if you have 3 cups of tea or coffee a day with 2 sugars over the course of a year you are consuming a massive of 9.172kgs of sugar that year, just looking at the tea and coffees you have every day … yikes! That is not considering all the hidden sugars in many of our daily foods that we eat without checking the labels!
One book I do recommend to my clients to read is called ‘Why I Quit Sugar’ by Sarah Wilson an excellent resource on where to find sugar and how to avoid it, complete with healthy and nutritious recipes to follow. I will put the title and links in my show notes.
If you can have sex at the optimal time in your cycle, you are giving yourself the best chance of conception, there are so many people not getting this timing correct and it is crucial. Scheduling the abstinence from ejaculation will give optimal sperm sample and then timing days of intercourse. Last but not least simple changes to your diet will give you better health outcomes and chance of conception.
So to recap the 3 simple rules to follow when trying to achieve pregnancy naturally are –
►Know your cycle
►Optimal sperm sample
If you would like any further information or would like to send me any questions please head to my website –
www.ivfcoachingclinic.com.au or my Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/ivfcoachingclinic/ or you can follow me on Instagram
@sophiabaseotto or @ivfcoachingclinic
Kind Regards, Sophia