New Delhi: Wanting to be a mother again or even for the first time at an age when generally women have hit menopause (after turning 50) has become a possibility, with better chances and more success rates.
On one hand, medical advances have given career-oriented, independent women the choice to delay their pregnancy successively; while on the other, women can choose to have a second or third child at the age.
There are women who may have gotten married late or those who want to have children in second marriages; some were too busy to pursue a career as well as also those who simply wanted to have a second child, but after a long break, planned a late pregnancy.
-The convention and the risks
Dr Kusum Sahni, Senior Consultant, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Fortis Lafemme, New Delhi, said, "Planning a child in one's early 30s maximises the chances of pregnancy. However, a significant number of women are trying to become pregnant in their later age. Becoming a mother in one's late 40s or in 50s is difficult but is not impossible anymore."
However, according to Dr Sahni, late pregnancy has its own limitation. Older women face health risks which include a high risk of developing gestational diabetes and hypertension, Down's syndrome, IUGR, stillbirth and a preterm delivery.
With the advancement of technology and medical science, the chances of motherhood at late age are a reality. There are three ways to become pregnant after the 40's, each with their own probability of success and these are:
• Natural conception
• In vitro fertilisation (IVF) using own eggs
• In vitro fertilisation (IVF) using donor's eggs
-Natural pregnancy in 50s
Fertility is a matter of age. The older the woman, the lesser are her chances of spontaneous conception. Today, health-conscious women spend a lot of money to retain their youth, but the reality check comes while trying to become pregnant after the 30s. A woman is born with all the eggs at the time of birth, thus the older a woman gets less chances of her being left with healthy eggs, thereby decreasing the chances of her getting pregnant. Hence, the risks of having malformed babies also increases manifold. Chances of baby being born with genetic disorder are one in 2500 for a woman in her 20s and increases to one in 350 in her 40s.
-In Vitro fertilisation of own eggs
Dr Ritu Sethi, Consultant Obstetrics & Gynecologist, Columbia Asia Hospital Gurugram, said, "In vitro fertilisation is a complex process of fertilising the matured eggs retrieved from the ovary to maximise the chances of pregnancy. Infertility can be caused by many factors such as fallopian tube damage or blockage, endometriosis, low sperm mobility and count, ovulation disorder. Success rate using own eggs at advanced age is poor. However, in case one had frozen her eggs when younger, the chances of clinics agreeing to fertilize them are higher.
-In vitro Fertilisation with donor's eggs
Being 50, ageing and almost reaching menopause is a complex situation for embarking towards motherhood. Hence, using young fertile eggs from a donor has the best chance of success for women in 50s. There are certain factors which a clinic will take into account before helping women in their 50s with pregnancy. These are that she has to be in good health overall in order to reduce risks and maximise the chances of carrying the baby to term.
"On an average, the success rate of the clinical pregnancy with a donor's egg in women under the age of 45 is higher than those above that age. Therefore, women postponing pregnancy till advanced age should make use of the technical know-how and get their eggs/embryos frozen and use the same later at their convenience," concluded Dr. Sethi....