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Pregnancy & Fertility After 40

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IUI with OB vs. IUI with RE

April 2011

I am 40.5 and was recently tested with high FSH. I have secondary infertility. I am seeing a RE(Susan Willman), OB(Kurt Wharton) and an acupuncturist. My husband also has sperm issues. We are considering an unmedicated IUI for the first cycle since I like to give acupuncture and herbs a try for maybe 1 to 3 cyles. Our insurance does not cover any infertility treatments. IUI at Dr.Wharton is around $300 and IUI at Dr.Willman is around $900. IVF is not an option for us due to finances and my high FSH. A couple of questions: *If I don't go on meds, does it matter who does the IUI? *Or should I be more aggressive and go on meds right away? Dr. Willman is okay with waiting on meds. Anon


Hi; I was in a very similar place to you 5 years ago. Even some of the same Drs. (you have a great team!). A few quick thoughts: Is the IUI primarily to address the sperm issue? Or are there concerns of the mucus not being optimal (I think they say hostile?). If not, then I'd go for medicated. We did a few medicated cycles with IUI with the thinking being that it just uppped the odds (i.e. get 15 shots at fertilizing an egg in 3 months). Just remember, you may not respond well to the meds as you have high FSH. Also, is your husband getting acupuncture and herbs? If not, he should, my husband ended up with super sperm after being on the eastern medicine for 6 months.I'd ask Dr. Willman what benefit there would be in doing an IUI with her, she should be able to tell you. If it's medicated, you'll need to go with her I suspect. Also, in my experience Dr. Willman was right on in her recommendations, even though it was something that took me a few years to accept. If you want to ask me more questions, feel free to ask the moderator for my contact info. Good Luck! anon
I did IVF with Dr Willman and had success (after 3 unsuccessful medicated IUIs at Kaiser). I only have positive things to say about the office. However, for a simple non-medicated IUI, it seems like your OB would be fine too, as long as they're willing to monitor you in your cycle to insure optimal timing of the IUI. (I'm not sure that my OB' office would be set up for very careful monitoring). For your other question, about whether to jump straight to the medicated route, personally that would be what I would do. If you're 40.5 and have high FSH you're at a delicate stage. Lots of women do have success at this age, but others don't and things can start to change really really quickly after 40 (or for some of us, before). A few months spent on herbs (if unsuccessful) might not make a difference. But it might make a huge difference if after that your FSH starts to skyrocket. Based on what I've seen in a lot of my friends who have gone through fertility issues, it really pays to be as aggressive as you're comfortable being at this age. You can do acupuncture too-- I did it with my IVF. But personally, I would do both or just go straight to the meds. (And if you think at all that you'd pay out for the IVF afterall if all this doesn't work, then I'd go straight to that, personally. I wish we hadn't wasted all that time and money on IUIs, especially since IVF has such higher success rates and has so much more control with numbers of multiples, etc. But I know that it's just completely out of the cost possibilities for many) --good luck
Think about how much you want a baby, how much you can afford, then go ahead for the IUI's with meds. If you are having fertility issues, a regular IUI is not going to cure your problems. However, if both place seem equally professional, I would go with the cheaper one. Save the $ for the meds.
I think you need to see a good fertility specialist to help you make decisions that are really important to your health. All of us are different and there can be a variety of factors affecting infertility. The drugs and techniques required are different for different people. I saw Dr. Rosen at UCSF for my infertility problems and we were very successful (I am now going through a very healthy pregnancy after trying for 2 years). I was lucky and IUI did the trick, but I wouldn't expect my treatments to be applicable to others. Make sure you find someone who you trust and is really competent to help you work through the process. Kate C
Dr. Wharton is fabulous and I went with him after I got pregnant. He is an EXCELLENT OB. I was in your similar situation a couple of years ago and went to RSC with no luck after 3 unsuccessful IUI's. I ended up by getting pregnant with acupuncture from Christina Martin (Dr. Hinckley from RSC refers to her a lot)in Berkeley and a naturopath Dr. Gloria Jackson in San Francisco. After age 40, I would still recommend the meds but try alternative as well. It took me 10 years to get pregnant and I attribute it to clearing my body of the toxic build up over the years. Much Luck to you. Anon

44 and trying to get pregnant

Oct 2008

Hi - I finally realized I want to have a baby at age of 42. As I was always healthy and all my tests, and my husband's, were good we took time trying to get pregnant naturally. Finally, last December we started seeing Dr Susan Willman at RSC in Orinda. We had a couple of IUIs, did Clomid challange once and concluded it was not of great help for me. I kept on believing it would happen and finally my age hit me as i turned 44 in June. I tried Femara last cycle and it didn't work so I finally asked for IVF to learn that they would not do it for me since I was too old. I have HealthNet and am now wondering if there is any other place that may consider me for IVF. Some earlier posts talk about UCSF being more accommodating? Any advice on how to get accepted for IVF somewhere would be greatly appreciated. I still believe I can get pregnant. Also, I saw Dr Angela Wu, acupuncturist, for 6 months- I enjoyed the treatments but found her practice too industrialized w/o attention to individual. Everyone was very nice and kind at her place though. Anyhow, thanks in advance for any advice you might have! -hopeful


Are you open to egg donation? I used IVF with egg donation to get pregnant at age 44. I recommend Dr. Louis Weckstein of the Reproductive Science Center in San Ramon. anon
I know intimately the struggle -- emotionally, physically and financially -- of infertility. I am sorry that you are facing this challenge. I think, at 44 years of age, you aren't likely to find a lot of endocrinologists who are going to tell you that you have good odds of getting pregnant with your own eggs, regardless of the site. I know that there are people in the public eye who give birth at 45 but the odds that they are using their own eggs are really really slim. If you want to carry a pregnancy, I would suggest you look into egg donation. If you know that you want to parent a child and you are pretty neutral about carrying a pregnancy then I would suggest looking into adoption. Best wishes, Rachel
The best advice I can give you is to quickly find an IVF center that will work with you even if your insurance won't cover any of it and/or to be open to consider an egg donor or adoption. I work in the field and I experienced difficultly conceiving myself. In my experience, the women in their mid-40s who concieve without IVF are very fertile (often with multiple children or prior pregnancies) and get pregnant quickly. The harsh reality is many women over 42 (and many who are younger) are unable to conceive without donor eggs. I've spoken to quite a few women 45+ who were not able to concieve and were convinced that they would conceive if the kept trying and it breaks my heart. Women need to know that most women are not able to conceive in their 40s, even with medical technologies, this is not your (or their) fault. Declining fertility is a natural part of the aging process that actually begins in our 20s. 40 may feel like the new 30 but out bodies tell us otherwise. I am so sorry that I don't have more hopeful advice for you. I do hope that others will read this and use this information in their family planning. feeling your pain
This is going to be hard to hear but consider donor eggs. You get to be pregnant/breast feed/have a child -- just not your genetic material. If you have the cash to do a round of IVF with your eggs, and then one with donor eggs then go for it. But if not, seriously, just go to donor eggs. Your odds are really awful. Actually how awful is even hard to say since its so rare that a woman at 44 gets pregnant on her own (without some form of ART). We had serious fertility issues but hit the jackpot and got a baby. However, donor eggs were our next step - and because of that I know a few moms who have gone down that path and are *thrilled* with the results. With donor eggs its simply a matter of time (assuming all else is well) -some places odds higher than 70% of a live birth. good luck
At our age, the hormone levels can change fairly quickly. You say you were checked out 2 yrs ago... things may be different now. I am 45 and pregnant. My hormone levels were not good for getting pregnant based on a saliva test I had done this past spring through my acupuncturist. I was experiencing pretty intense perimenopause symptoms. But I wanted a baby. My acupuncturist used the saliva test results (in addition to her knowledge about me in other regards) to develop a supplements, herbs, diet, lifestyle regimen. The goal was to even out the hormone situation and get the perimenopause to ease up... things certainly evened out and I got pregnant. I highly recommend her. Her name is Abigail Surasky, she is in Berkeley and phone is 845-8017. In your situation, I would say she is definitely worth a shot. Best of luck to you! anon
I'm sorry, but from my experience, it is rare to see a 44 yo give birth to a baby conceived using her own eggs. The miscarriage rate is very high as well. I think you need to go forward in your journey knowing that and being prepared to deal with what comes next. If I were you I'd research egg donation and/or adoption. anon
Personally, I think your best odds of getting pregnant at 44 do not lie in IVF. After almost three years of infertility treatment, starting at 40, that included Clomid, IUIs, and IVFs and resulted only in very early miscarriages, I gave up and began getting in shape for myself. I wanted to have some reserves, physical, emotional and financial, to prepare for egg donation or adoption. I cut out sugar completely, started weight-training and bicycling again, and dropped 30 lbs. And started having more frequent and passion-driven sex rather than ''the kit says I'm ovulating so let's do it'' sex. Unexpectedly (I was not even taking folic acid, I had given up so completely), I conceived at 43, and delivered my first and only child when I was two weeks shy of my 44th birthday.

Another thing that I found very helpful was to join RESOLVE, which is a national organization helping people deal with infertility. My husband and I took part in a couples group led by a therapist who had also experienced infertility. It was enormously helpful and cathartic to be able to talk with others who were going through the same thing. anonymous


Two words you probably don't want to hear: donor eggs. That's how everyone over age 43 gets pregnant. At your age your chance of getting pregnant from an IVF cycle with your own eggs (costing approximately $12-14,000) is about 1%. Whereas your chance with donor eggs is more like 50%. You can look up the exact statistics on the CDC's website. -sorry to be the bearer of bad news
You may be an exception, but it is harder to have kids with age. I was still able to get pregnant at 44 (and again at 48!) but quickly miscarried, because egg quality deteriorates with age and the chances for miscarriage are high. You may seriously want to think about donor eggs if you are in otherwise good health as IVF is expensive and you want to stack the odds in favor of a successful pregnancy. I chose that path. We continue to be amazed at the twins I had at 46--they are so utterly lovely. anon
44 and just getting going...I'd seriously consider adoption (for SO MANY reasons) This from someone who was 38 the first time and 40 years old the 2nd time, after years of infertility treatments Good luck jenny
I'm struck by your email. I had my first and only child at 48. I am now 50, he is 2. After 4 attempts at IVF, between 40 and 44, I realized at 48 that I just had to do this and would not give up until I did. By the time you are 43, a responsible IVF center will not use your eggs, they are simply too old. The doctors are being kind to you, trying to avoid the heartache of yet another failed attempt. With support from a few close friends, I decided to use donor eggs, and my husband agreed. He was 53 then, and he had a major health issue strike him at 54. I was on my last attempt with the donor eggs, and knew if I didn't do it then, no clinic would, because 50 is the age they simply won't. I hope you'll consider donor eggs if you want a child so badly. Although I wanted my 'own' child, I love this little boy so much it hurts. I thank god every day I have him to come home to, and my husband's condition has not prevented him from loving our son very much. Consider all your options before you give up. You are not 'too old' unless you insist on using your own eggs. I was sick and miserable the entire pregnancy, just like all those other women I'd read about. But I got pregnant and it was worth everything. Anon in Oakland Hills
I have a 47 yr old friend who's pregnant with twins, and another friend who gave birth at 42 and 46. They both used the IVF clinic in Denver, CO. It's expensive, and both women used donor eggs, but if you have the money and the determination, I believe that clinic has the best IVF success rates in the country. anon
At 44 there is only one place I'd recommend and that is CCRM - Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine. When I went a few years ago they had the best success rates by far for the over 40. We thought about trying in the bayarea first but in the end just decided to start with the best and we successful (now have a 4 year old). The best place to get info is ivfconnections.org - look at their bulletin boards - they have boards for older women, bayarea women, ccrm women etc anon
While I haven't used this organization for the help they say they may provide, I did feel very well-informed by their website. It really encouraged me that I COULD get pregnant ''on my own'' at the age of 45 (when I say ''on my own'' the truth is I used acupuncture... but no IVF, no western interventions, no donor eggs). I urge you to read it. It is very interesting. http://www.thefertilesoul.com/knowledgebase/diagnoses/diagnosisdetail.aspx?id=198 anon
I would also recommend Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine. I was 38 and had several unsuccessful cycles here in the East Bay before we wised up and went to CO. Wish we had gone to CCRM from the start. Our only cycle with them was successful(with overall much better results re: embryo quality and number), and we now have a beautiful 5 month old daughter. You can also schedule a phone consultation, where they will review your medical information and give you an evaluation of your chances. Good luck. big fan of CCRM

Getting pregnant at 40 after multiple miscarriages

May 2008

I would like to learn from other women who may have had a similar experience. I had an easy pregnancy at age 37 with my first child. I'm now 40, and I've suffered three miscarriages in the last eight months; all pregnancies ended at about seven weeks. The most recent miscarriage was analyzed and the doctor found a chromosomal problem with the fetus. It's possible that the other two pregnancies ended for the same reason, but we don't know definitively. I am trying to decide what to do. I am willing to risk the emotional and physical toll of further miscarriages if I end up with a healthy pregnancy, but my doctor didn't have any information about the odds of this happening given my history. So I'm feeling a little lost. Has anyone else gone through something similar, and learned what the chances are for a healthy pregnancy after multiple miscarriages at this age? Are there such statistics? Is there anything I can do? The doctor mentioned donor eggs, and IVF, but I'd like to learn more about my chances before going down that route. Many thanks for any advice. anon


I am assuming since you've had three miscarriages that your OB is starting to do a workup on you (mine wanted me, at age 39, to wait until I'd had three, but I insisted on starting after the second miscarriage--it's ridiculous to wait when you are well into ''advanced maternal age''). What I started with was bloodwork, on Day 3 of my cycle, checking estradiol, FSH and prolactin. It turned out they were all normal, and as it happened I got pregnant that cycle anyway, and am now in my 21st week. I had two normal pregnancies at ages 33 and 35, then two miscarriages at 38. So I guess what I'm saying is that it's very possible for you at age 40 to get pregnant very soon, but also, you shouldn't wait to find out if there is an easily-fixable problem. Tell your OB you want to start the workup NOW! Pregnant at 39
I'm so sorry for your losses -- I had 2 miscarriages in 6 months last year, and it was a horrible horrible experience.

I did a lot of reading to try to understand what could be happening, and from what I found, the odds are actually in your favor for a successful pregnancy; I think they're even better because you have had a child. I found Jon Cohen's book ''Coming to Term'' (you can get it off of Amazon)to be really informative, a nice combo of scientific information with personal stories. He is a science writer whose wife had 4 miscarriages in a row before having their 2nd child, so he started researching and ended up writing this book. If I remember right, statistically close to 70% of women who have had 3 (may even be 4) miscarriages will eventually carry to term. Good luck. Anon


Hi, You wrote in your intro to joining about your multiple pregnancy losses. I feel for you and have also experienced late pregnancy loss. I found help from a therapist called Kim Kluger- Bell (510) 524 1475 on Solano Ave, with the anxiety I experienced when pregnant again after loss. And I also found a dear OB/GYN in the form of Dr. Bill Isenberg, a kind and senior male OB, who took me as a high-risk patient, even though he's not a perinatologist, and kept me from going insane and being swallowed up when pregnancy becomes ''medicalized'' by NOT demanding too many tests...

I have a lovely son that he delivered at 38 weeks via planned C- section and the support I needed from the therapist and the physician were both key for me. I can only imagine that coming new to this area will be challenging as well as a ''fresh start'' for you. Making connections to folks who can support you will help in your dreams of starting a family. Good luck and feel free to contact me.

Peace, Katy


Wow, I am so sorry for what you are going through. I could have been your post three years ago. Unfortunately there is no way of knowing how things will work out so it is a very personal choice. It may be that 50% of your eggs still good and you have had bad luck or you may be really scrapping the bottom of the egg barrel -who knows. Hopefully your next pregnancy will be healthy. I eventually stopped getting pregnant at all with my own eggs after multiple miscarriages and ended up having success with donor egg and couldn't be happier but others I am friends with were able to catch a golden egg and have a healthy pregnancy using their own eggs after multiple miscarriages. The only down side is my kids are almost 6 years apart. As long as I was still able to get pregnant I was game to keep trying with the hopes that the next one would stick.

The good news is that you are getting pregnant pretty easily and if you can take the emotional roller coaster you might have a good chance of a successful pregnancy. The other good news is that you can carry a pregnancy successfully and if you do decide at some point to go the Donor route you have a very good chance of success (it's comforting to know that your last chance plan has a high rate of success).

I can share some info I've learned along the way. If you can afford it I'd go consult with an RE as soon as possible. Once you get into your 40s time is very important. They may run some more tests (antral follicle count and FSH) and give you a better sense of statistics. Try to find someone who works with older woman - some clinics are very concerned with there statistics which are all posted on the CDC and may push you towards donor egg before you feel ready. There are a few things that some research argues helps embryo quality - in no particular order. 1. lots of antioxidants, 2. cutting out coffee and alcohol and recreational drugs (these hurts quality of the egg evidently) 3. acupuncture with someone who specializes in fertility. Since the egg is recruited 3 months before ovulation all these things are long term. If money is no issue you may want to try IVF with your own eggs or even a medicated IUI since it will increase your chances and may give you some answers.

Good luck! It's a really hard decision and unfortunately there are no easy answers. anon


Have you had a hormone panel run? Have you gotten your thyroid checked? The ideal tsh (thyroid stimulating hormone) level for conception is 1-2. I would not say that you'd need to look into donor eggs or IVF just yet. Try acupuncture and chinese medicine along with a medical work-up with your OB. 40 is still relatively young
I'm so sorry to hear about your miscarriages. How difficult. Three in eight months sounds very trying. Does your body need a rest? I had success carrying a baby to term after two miscarriages with the help of acupuncture. It's very effective, and may give your body some support. I wish you the best
Many of these questions have come up in the past, and maybe the answers have been (or will be) posted. Nobody can say what would work for you personally, but I'd at least see a fertility specialist and get the standard workup, to figure out if there are easily-solvable problems. The ones that spring to mind readily are STDs like ureaplasma (which may or may not cause miscarriages), luteal phase defect (usually treatable with progesterone suppositories), and who-knows easy things to deal with such as pre-natal vitamins (can't hurt, may help), taking baby aspirin for the first trimester (i.e. before the fetus has its own placenta). And more difficult though sometimes-correctable issues like polyps and fibroids, endometriosis low FSH levels, etc. I'd get more serious about those things if I were you, prior to going the ''technical'' routes. And do NOT stick w/ an OB/GYN who thinks he can ''solve'' these problems. I had probably 4 or 5 (or more? I've blocked it from my mind now) miscarriages (some of them early, early, so that I wouldn't have known I was pregnant) from 40-41 yrs of age. Some of it's just age related (sorry, it's depressing, but not hopeless). I had a very bad experience w/ one doctor (Streitfeld) who didn't seem to know his own limitations, and didn't even know a thing about all the issues I'd dug up doing my own research. I was much more comfortable with a fertility specialist (Streitfeld used to call himself one, but he's not. He's an OB/GYN who will prescribe Clomid.) And the good news is this: you've had a baby before. Statistically speaking, you'll have an easier time than I had at the same age trying for my first baby. Multiple miscarriages don't necessarily mean that you have some insurmountable problem, especially if you've already had one baby. It may indicate that your eggs are ''getting old,'' but you may have simply had a round of bad ones. And it is also possible that something simple like Clomid will help in that realm. (How cool that you could actually have chromosonal analysis... I love extra info, and I didn't get ANY!) Don't give up yet.

Follicularly challenged at 41

May 2008

Help, I really need some advise. After struggling with infertility and failed IUI's we finally took the plunge and went for IVF. All the initial tests looked great so I started taking the drugs. At 41 I knew the odds were not in my favour, I was prepared for the possibility that some embryos might not develop and that those that did might not take. What I was not prepared for was that I would only produce 2 follicles and therefore not even be able to go ahead with IVF. So now I'm trying to figure out where to go next. Unfortunately my hormones made me burst into tears every time I tried to talk to the doctor so I didn't get much info from him. Has anyone out there had a similar experience? Is there anything I can do to boost the amount of follicles I produce. The doctor said we should try again in a couple of months but there was a good chance we would have the same results. Any suggestions are appreciated.


I had a similar experience - first IVF cycle canceled - but did conceive through IVF on our third try. I'm not sure which clinic you're using, but we went to Pacific Fertility Center in SF. Not knowing many details I can just suggest two things. One would be to (obviously) try a higher dosage of the meds if you're not on the highest dosage. There are also different possible combos of meds. Different doctors have different conception of highest, so I wouldn't hesitate to get a second opinion. The other is acupuncture. I was not a big believer beforehand, but I do feel it helped me to conceive with IVF. I went to Leslie Oldershaw, in Oakland near Grand Lake (www.leslieoldershaw.com). Meanwhile, we also got our adoption paperwork ready, because I wanted to feel that one way or another I was moving forward. All best wishes to you. It's a tough process - try to hold steady and realize that life is good and precious no matter what. anon
I feel for you. 6 IUI's and 3 IVF's before I had my wonderful daughter. Before you give up, consult with Leslie Oldershaw, an accupuncurist who specializes in women's issues (including fertility issues). I am convinced the last IVF worked because of Leslie. Don't ask your fertility doctor, they will probably tell you it doesn't work. I, however, had a fertility doctor who was open to anything that might help and his office referred me to Leslie. Leslie is in Piedmont, and more affordable than trying IVF's over and over. Hoping for success for you
I had my first child a age forty and my second at 43. After two years of trying for my second child, I went to a fertility specialist and did one cycle of injectable fertility drugs. I developed only three follicles and my doctor told me to consider egg donation. Instead, I tried acupuncture, and became pregnant three months later. Several of my friends also had positive results with acupuncture and fertility. Good luck. anon
I had that experience at your age and for my 4th IVF try, I got donor eggs. It was weird ''shopping'' for eggs...flipping through catalogs, paying an agency, setting it up...meeting the egg donor...all weird. But, she was very similar to me genetically...very similar. She was doing this and working her way through graduate school...was planning to not have children herself.. Anyway, I had 2 healthy normal babies from that cycle. One fresh and one frozen 3 years later. At first, I was sort of ashamed of myself and kept it all a secret. Knowing that I would have to tell them someday and groaning... I have told them and have met several others with similar stories. You will be surprised at how many people are doing this. (And adopting privately. ''Open adoption'' is huge now and seems impossible but, actually, it seems to work well.) I have 2 very healthy, very normal boys in Elementary school. I am not recomending this exactly, but, I too was follicularly challenged and this is what I did. Just to mention it, a woman I know who also got an egg donor, was sorry she did and felt like the whole thing snowballed in a giant not admitting failure mistake. She felt like she wasn't meant to be a mother. I think that mother hood is so hard. We get so tired. Having these helpless folk we need to nurture and protect is well, hard. I love being their mother and have never been sorry. You have a lot to think about. All of your choices involve hard stuff. I am wishing you well!
I went through 10 cycles. The last 4 were IVF. My FSH was a horrible 21 and every cycle before my very last IVF produced almost nothing. My last IVF produced a whopping 18 follicles which resulted in 9 healthy embryos. I gave birth to a healthy baby at the advanced maternal age of 41.

What I learned from all of it is that the doctors cannot predict what your body will do in the future. My doctors were baffled by my last cycle and told me I could have gotten pregnant that cycle with no intervention. There is a bigger ''cycle'' that is happening in addition to your little monthly cycles. You may have several more great cycles before menopause or you might not. You might have one really great cycle next month or next year. My point is that several bad cycles indicate a problem but there is no way to fully predict future cycles unless your doctors have found a very specific, very definite problem. All the doctors at my clinic were urging me to give up and they were wrong.

But I feel your doctor is doing the right thing by preparing you for the fact that it might not happen. You should be thinking about this possibility but at the same time try to maintain some sanity. Ha! I laugh as I write this thinking back to how many times I burst into tears trying to have a conversation! There is nothing wrong with you to be feeling this way. Take very good care of yourself. As stupid as this sounds you really need to pamper yourself. Eat very good food, get lots of rest, go for walks in beautiful places, stay away from people who aren't supporting you etc. And remember that all the initial tests looked good.

Many issues come up with infertility. For me it was a huge financial drain. We ended up borrowing thousands of dollars from our family. So it also comes down to what do you want to do over the next couple of years. How do you want to spend your money and can you stand all the discomfort, both physical and emotional, that comes with fertility treatment? I was at the end of the road with my last IVF. If that failed I was not going to try again and I had reached a point where I was OK with that. Are you OK with not trying any more? If you are then maybe start exploring how to build your family in another way. Also, early on I felt so devastated but I did comes to terms with it BEFORE I got pregnant. It is a long process but you will survive this. I feel for you


I went through the same process. I never had more than 3 folicles and proceeded from several different regimines of IUI to IVF. We tried once with IVF. The shots sucked and were soo painful and only 2 eggs fertilized and none implanted. Without hesitation we explored adoption while still trying using accupuncture etc. We used adoption connection in SF (without a doubt the most affordable agency in the country) We had a fabulous experience and have a beautiful 2 year old daughter. We are now preparing for a second baby through domestic adoption! We could'nt be happier with our situation. Rather than see it as a curse, see it as an opportunity to create your loving family and help a little one have a wonderful life! Go to an orientation or 2 with a local agency. You have nothing to loose! infertile contented momma
Hi. I sympathize with you completely and I know how difficult and heart-wrenching infertility can be, having been thru it. Unfortunately the only answer to more follicles (not necessarily good quality) is more drugs. Twice we tried my own eggs. We tried acupuncture, yoga, meditation, reike, anything. If someone had said stand on one leg and cluck like a chicken and everything will come out fine, I would have been clucking away. The second time I was on the max dosage. I got 5 - 2 were pretty good. Outcome - polyspermy. Devastating and heartbreaking. We had tried everything else and I wasn't getting any younger. Our journey took us to 5 different IVF clinics. After much soul searching and research our desire to have a child was just too great. We turned to egg donation. There is no guarantee with this either. Long story short, 1st attempt (harvested 28 eggs) implanted 3 - did not take, the rest of our eggs were dropped on the floor!! 2nd attempt, only 5 eggs - shared them with another couple - we got 3 they got 2. Didn't take. Had womb evaluated - hysteroscopy - told I had the womb of a 20 year old so should have no problems - so why am I not getting pregnant!?. 3rd attempt - NO follicles produced - you take your chances! 4th attempt shared eggs with another couple total 15 - we got 7, they got 8 - none took - not fresh nor frozen. There must be something wrong with me. We took a 6 month break. Meanwhile this is costing us a small fortune; the clinic fees, the donor fees, the drugs, the freezing fees etc etc I don't mean to scare you but this journey is costly - insurance pays for almost nothing. We then found a clinic in Reno, NV headed up by the most wonderful Dr. We chose a donor who had been proven (she had donated once before). She produced 26 really healthy follicles - all 26 eggs fertilized. We implanted 3 in the fresh cycle- none took. We decided to try for the last time. We implanted 3 frozen embryos. It was the last time - I was relaxed - after my implant I had a glass of red wine and took a nap. At 43, I am pregnant! 9 months later at age 44, I give birth to a healthy, beautiful boy. The journey, 10 years in the making, produced the love of my life - the child I was meant to have. I wish you the very best of luck. Let me know if you'd like to chat further. Ask the administrator for my email address if you want to get in contact. Blessed
Go see Lifang Liang in San Francisco. She is the leading acupuncturist working with IVF. And she routinely helps women get pregnant in exactly your situation. I would schedule an appointment with her today! Don't schedule another IVF session until after three months. And try naturally in the mean time. A lot of her patients get pregnant naturally after going to her. She's a miracle worker! Mother naturally at 41 after IVF
I have been reading the posts about fertility and wanted to share a great resource here in the Bay Area - Open Path The Fertility & Adoption Resource of Northern California - formerly known as Resolve of Northern California. There are drop in support groups facilitated by licensed therapists the second Tuesday of the month. The next one is on 6/3 from 7-9PM. In addition to the drop in support there are professional referrals, groups and other information and community available to those wanting/seeking information. The website is http://www.YourOpenPath.org. This organization is here to serve the needs of those finding themselves on a path that they did not intend as they try to have a family. Anonymous
Maureen Raytis is a fertility specialist and extraordinary Acupuncturist and Herbalist at the Upaya Center for Wellbeing in Oakland. Physicians refer difficult cases to her becuase she has had success where others had not been able to help. Most recently I know of twins on the way thanks to her. I highly recommend her for fertility problems. Her office (510)444-4141; E-mail: mo@eastbayacupuncture.com Wishing you the best!
I posted a lengthy post about this already in the last month (please search), but I was told I was incurably infertile (due to my age, old eggs, nothing more). Infertility clinics refused to take me due to my case being so grim. I was given a very specialized herbal tincture (drink) by herbalist Phil Madden, LaC, Sonoma CA. I had a child naturally! He's now 7 and perfect :) Phil Madden, LaC 707-996-6681 - Worth the trip, what's the risk.... sister

Miscarriage at 42 - try again?

April 2008

I am 42 yrs old and was 14 wks pregnant when I had some very mild (what I thought)gas pains one evening, went away, came back the next morning(not painful),I went to the bathroom and my water broke. I started bleeding immediately, and had no heartbeat at the hospital and a D&E. I had just had a sonogram 3 days prior and heartbeat and measurements were fine. When I was 29 I had a fetile demise at 20 wks. (no HB at regular appt and baby had stopped growing at 17 wks)OB will not consider these 2 connected due to different fathers(I am remarried) and a baby I had in between(4 yr old boy, also 18 yr old girl and 14 yr old boy) Insurance has not covered checking baby for genetics either time and I am not sure as to whether due to my age or some other problem, I should try this again. 2 D&E's and feeling very sick with these 2 pregnancies and the sadness of the miscarriages(and felt healthy and wonderful with the other 3 pregnancies) scares me to try again. Any advice would be appreciated. l.


I'm so sorry about your miscarriage. I also was trying to get pregnant between 40 and 45 - had two teens already but wanted another baby. I had a history of miscarriage in my late 20s but also had two normal term pregnancies back then. I did get pregnant 4 times after 40, twice ''accidentally'' and twice with IVF as I got closer to 45. I miscarried all four times. It was devastating, especially that last time, when we'd put so much effort and hope (and money!) into it, and we knew that was our last chance. In retrospect, I should have been more realistic. We have to face that our chances of having a successful term pregnancy in our 40's are quite slim, and get slimmer with every passing month. You might still be ovulating, and your hormones might still be up there, and you might get a pregnancy, but your eggs have been around for a long time. Most of the good ones are gone, and the ones that are left have seen better days. If you really want to have another baby, which I highly recommend by the way! please consider either donor eggs or adoption. Donor eggs is expensive, but adoption does not have to be. We decided to adopt, and we are very, very happy with our son and can't imagine things turning out any other way. All the best to you and hang in there. Mom of 3
I didn't see your original post, but will share my own experience. I gave birth to my first child at 41, after four years of infertility treatments and two early miscarriages. As we tried for a second child, I conceived three times between age 43 and 44, had two more early miscarriages, and gave birth to my (now 11 year old)daughter at age 45. My husband and I had agreed that we would not got the infertility-treatment route for #2, and we didn't... that said, I'm still amazed that we got so lucky-but you might, too! I say, go for it! Lucky Mama

Infertility over 44

April 2008

I've my first daughter at age 42 and I've been trying for 18 months for a 2nd child, with 1 failed IUI and 2 failed IVFs. I'm getting ready for a 3rd IVF attempt but I'm losing all faith and losing all hope that we will succeed and would like to know if anybody out there who's 44 and above and have conceived naturally or thru IVF using own eggs? I've been on acupuncture and also TCM for 3 months now but not hopeful that these would help increase the chances. I was on acupuncture and TCM during my last IVF attempt. I would appreciate anybody out there who could give me some hopeful advice. My husband and I had eliminated using donor eggs or adoption. My husband has good sperm count and motility. I'm very guilty that I'm the one responsible for not being able to grant my daughter a sibling as she loves babies and will be a good big sister. Hopeless Advanced Maternal Age Mom


I was 42 with my first and 45 with my second. My #s were such that donar eggs seemed like the only way. I, like you, did everything groovy; acupuncture, acupressure, years of herb drinks, clomid and oh yeah! sex and ovulation kits....first. I had a couple of possibly incompetent and certainly untalented fertility doctors before I lucked into Dr Susan Willman out in Orinda.

She did a series of plastic surgeries on my uterous, made it a good place to grow in and set me up with the egg brokers. (my words, not hers) That was an amazing process. I could write a lot about it but, in the end, we got a lovely woman who was the same chop suey mix that I am. She had the same hands, feet, coloring, texture, and general build as me. However, she had no history of insanity or anything except the occaisional alcoholic in her background, which, in my case was trading up.

So, while I felt a lot about having to have a donar egg, I also feel a lot of relief knowing that I am the only one genetically pre-disposed to senile dementia and paranoid delusions in our little family. As a mother, there is enough powerlessness!

OK, you have one child and you want another. Why not let your husband's sperm get with a younger version of yourself in the dish? You probably have a great gene pool and it is sad... Well, so many woman have heartbreaking results with want want wanting that second child. If the gap is too big, and if the second child is medically fragile? I don't know, it is all hard.

There are so many parts of it to mesh together. How your husband feels is a big part. Infertility can rip you to shreds and people rip each other up about it sometimes. I certainly felt ''barren'' and ashamed. I was sad that I had to spend my nest egg.

My husband was awfully proud of his motility count and it was hard. ''That's nice honey!''

You know, a life saver for me was someone I met on the other side of the curtain at the fertility clinic. We saved each other a bundle calling and talking the fertility lingo... She was the only person in my world who knew what I was talking about. I guess that's where RESOLVE and other groups are so helpfull...you can flame off and get something to hold on to when you feel adrift... I'll listen off list if you need me. ad


I am really sorry to hear about your difficulties. You sound very sad and scared. I wish I had specific success stories to tell you, but alas, I don't--at least not about getting pregnant and keeping the pregnancy at age 44. However, I can tell you that I have come to LOVE having one child. Yes, there are still moments I feel terrible that I don't have two, that my son does not have a sibling. But soon, the joy of having my son takes over. There's more we can do together--I can take him to classes, help him with his homework, play together, and not have to worry about sharing my time with another child. My son is a terrific conversationalist, and I think part of that is because we get to talk with him all the time, without interruptions. I make sure he has lots of time with friends and cousins. Yes, my son also loves babies and would be a great brother. But a sibling is not the only way to have that experience, and I trust him such that I know that as he grows he will find time to be with younger kids, too.

Do what you need to, and if the next round of IVF works, mazel tov! But if not, deal with your grief and try to refocus your loving attention on your daughter and all that is great about being together. Best wishes. anon


If you're looking for success stories, my healthy and rambunctious son was born when I was 44 1/2. He was an accident.

I suspect that your stress over the situation is interfering with your plans... but its hard to be casual and carefree when you think you're time's running out. For me, the trick was giving up. Once I knew it wasn't going to happen, it happened.

Maybe it would help to remember that your daughter will be fine either way. You're the one who will have to deal with disappointment...and you will, if you have to. Good luck! Third Kid's the Charmer


Do not lose hope! Have you seen Randine Lewis's site: www.thefertilesoul.com? Go to the Diagnosis page and click 'advanced maternal age'. Please stay hopeful and try not to feel guilty. Guilt only blocks your positive life force which you need for reproducing. All the best to you. Kari
Hi, I am 45 and tried to have my first child starting at 40. We were unsuccessful and now have a beautiful 21 month old through adoption.

I know you have this dream of having a second child and sibling for your first but it is a reality that fertility declines rapidly after age 40. You were blessed to have your first after 40. Please stop feeling guilty. You have no control over your fertility decline. Men don't have this same decline so its normal that your husband would continue to be fertile. Its no one's fault just life.

If you really want a sibling there are many options: egg donation, open adoption, public adoption...Don't get stuck in the idea that there is only 1 way. You never know, this may be an opportunity to find the child you meant to have, I know it was for us :) happiest mom


Over 44 pregnancies are infrequent and frequently result in miscarriage, so you should not berate yourself. Rethink your parameters. I just decided, ultimately to raise my odds by using donor eggs. It was a loss giving up on my own ability to have children with my DNA. But I picked a donor who looked a bit like my mother. The children I gave birth to at age 46 (almost 47) are amazingly beautiful and enchanting, noisy, curious and fun. They are not related to me genetically but both my husband and myself consider ourselves doubly blessed. twin mom
I got pregnant without intervention 3 times between age 43-44. I had my first child at 41, after 4 years of infertility treatments (clomid and acupunture only, no IUI or IVF). I had two miscarriages before my son was born when I was 41, and two more before my daughter was born when I was 45. Good luck to you, may you be as fortunate as I was! anon
There is hope...My grandmother got pregnant naturally in 1939 at the age of 45. You sound like a wonderful, thoughtful person. I hope that you find yourself knocked up soon. -My mom was born when her Mom was pushing 46
Chances of live birth with fetus conceived of own eggs at 44 are 3% even with IVF. If you really really really want and are willing to spend time and money for a biological child, nowhere in the country can touch the outcomes of the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine. Try the polar body biopsy with day three transfer method. It worked for me at 44 and my friend at 43, 100% of our little sample. Anywhere else would have killed the fragile old-lady embryos. I had tried with DH on our own 10 times with ovulation test kits, timing, herbs, acupuncture, etc., foolishly wasting precious time. Even CCRM probably can't help at 45... Voice of reason and experience, MD

Infertility in our 40's

Dec 2007

My husband and I are in our forties. We are trying and trying to have a second child. We tried chinese herb and acupuncture for about a year to no avail. We checked our bodies with an ob and found nothing wrong. Any advice, ob/gyn, therapies, acupuncturist recommendation is much appreciated. anon


Infertility is extremely common for women in their 40s. I recommend going to a reproductive endocrinologist rather than a regular ob-gyn to find out what's going on and to discuss your options. I highly recommend Dr. Susan Willman at RSC in Orinda. She's very competent, compassionate, and a great communicator. anon
We have suffered from infertility as well, and are very fortunate to have delivered our first daughter when I (female) was 41 and will deliver our second child when I will be 44. One of the only places in the country with any fertility success with women in their 40's is the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine. A telephone consultation (one hour) with them is $250. Schedule it today.

If you think I'm exaggerating, let me just say that the national average live birth rates for 44-year-old women undergoing IVF with their own eggs for fresh cycles is 3.3%, but at CCRM it is 16.5%, and no other center in the country can approach that. (These are 2006 statistics, which will be published in the next couple of months on SART.ORG) Childless till CCRM


Don't waste any more time. Go see fertility expert. I'm approaching 39 and have been trying for 16 months. No. 1 was super easy. I could kick myself for not seeing a specialist earlier. Other help is joining a fertility group on-line. I like Mothering.com/discussions and have found some good Yahoo groups. You will learn alot and it will help when asking a doctor the right questions. - In the Same Boat
If your husband would like another biological child, maybe you could find an egg donor. You could still try IVF just to make sure that there really aren't any remaining viable eggs.

I'm very sorry that your eggs lost a critical year while you discovered that acupuncture and chinese herbs are no more effective than placebos. I don't know if a lawsuit could ever recover enough to compensate for what might have been.

On the bright side, I know foster parents who adopted lovely children who had been placed in their care. If you want a girl, there are thousands of girls in Chinese orphanages still waiting for parents. Too late smart


We tried to conceive our second child when I was 40. We too had nothing wrong with all the tests we did and I had gotten pregnant right away with our first child. What it comes down to is that your eggs are way past prime. Sure, accupuncture may work for some women, but I really believe you are not going to have any luck at your age without trying fertility treatments. It was the only was I got pregnant after trying accupuncture and other alternative routes. Don't waste any more time trying more ''natural'' methods. You will only increase your risk of not getting pregnant, of having a higher risk pregnancy and of complications with your baby. The odds for birth defects increase dramatically in your 40's and that's nothing to mess around with. anon
Because of your age, I think you should go see a fertility doctor. I got lucky with Dr. Susan Willman after wasting quite a lot of time & $ with others. I also did a lot of accupuncture, Chinese herbs, and everything elsealternative. Willman did some plastic surgery on my uterus and IVF and I have 2 perfect children. I think doing everything is good. I mean some people never get lucky no matter what they do but I felt that it all added up to make it work. I only mention your age because I was 42 & 45 when I had my kids and man! TIRED? So tired. Plus, most of my ''peers'' in motherhood now, could be my kids if not for birth control. Good luck!

Fertility after 41

June 2007

I am 42 with FSH 7 and have had 3 failed IUI's using frozen donor sperm. My doctor says that , though my FSH is in ''normal range''( his term) and I am making 5-7 follicles a cycle on clomid alone, egg quality may be a factor in my lack of success. I cannot afford IVF as my insurance does,'t cover any of it and I am SMC of a 4 year old. Is there anyone out their who is my age w/ similar FSH level who had success w/ IUI who didn't use fresh sperm? Am I just waisting my money? Thanks dc


HI, We did not do frozen sperm but I wanted to pass along a tip that I was given. Apparently you can do 2 inseminations per cycle. It makes perfect sense when you think about it, and the tip was from the lady who worked at the lab that collected the sperm Best of luck to you. Anon
Two important things... are you seeing a Reproductive Endocrinologist and have you had an HSG to make sure your tubes are clear and uterus is normal? Any good RE will have you try FSH injections before IVF - that's standard. It may well be a problem with egg quality and more FSH (even if your levels are normal, like mine) will improve that. At 34, after failure to conceive naturally or with clomid, I had luck on my first try with FSH and IUI. It was fresh sperm, but I don't think that makes a big difference. Another very important thing in my opinion is the mind-body connection. I was very stressed and obsessed with getting pregnant. Doing lots of yoga and meditation, taking time for myself and joining a support group helped me tremendously. I also tried acupuncture for fertility. Who knows what really did the trick, but I recommend it all. Read Ali Domar's book Conquering Infertility. Ali also recommends going easy on the exercise. Stay positive! You'll get there!
3 attempts - You're just getting started.

I got pregant after my 9th attempt (also using Clomid with 5 -7 follicles a cycle) and I miscarried. Sad, but true.

I got pregant again after my 11th attempt. Here's what worked - you need to cover the cycle. When I knew the follicicles were ready, I used a non-washed vial at home. (Think Turkey Baster only smaller) the next morning I had an IUI. It worked. I have a beautiful daughter to show for it.

Interestingly enough when she was 2 1/2 she said to me. I've been inside you before. (she started talking at 7 months). I said ''oh really.'' Yes, she said, but the rule is you have to decide if you want to be a boy or a girl. I wanted to be a girl, not a boy, so I had to start over.

Life's good - you'll get there - keep trying. Mom of a girl who did not want to be a boy


Miscarriage after fertility treatments at 40

Feb 2007

After trying to get pregnant for a year, I was successful after taking Prometrium for 2 months. Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with a ''missed miscarriage'' at 9.5 weeks (embryo had stopped growing at 7.5 weeks) and just had a D&C. I am trying to work through the grief, but I'm pretty confident that I'd like to try again.

I am seeing Dr Huibonhoa right now, whom I like in general, but she seems overworked (she initially forgot to tell me about test results indicating insufficient Progesterone). Before I got pregnant, she suggested IVF right away since I'm 40. I would like to stay away from ART for a while since I know that I can get pregnant.

I'd love advice on what I can do to enhance my fertility, what tests I should look into to ensure I can have a viable pregnancy, and what I need to monitor during early pregnancy to ensure the next one goes well (e.g.should I work with an RE?) I'd specifically appreciate recommendations for practitioners and other concrete information. Anonymous, please


Try again right away. I had my first child at 37. At age 38 we started trying again. I got pregnant and miscarried at 5 weeks (i.e. I ended up only being 1 week late with my period but happened to have a positive pregancy test result at 4 weeks). I got pregnant again a few months later...I miscarried at 12 weeks (embryo stopped growing at 9 weeks). This is more common for older moms since our eggs are older. I waited 1 cycle per advice from my doc. Got pregnant immediately and delivered a healthy girl 9 months later 1 month before my 40th birthday. Don't get discouraged. I have heard (perhaps this is true, perhaps not), but you are very fertile within a month or two after a miscarriage. Wait 1 cycle (i.e. have 1 period), then try again. Good Luck! Anon
Hello -- I had a miscarriage and low progesterone. I went to Lifang Liang, an herbalist and acupuncturist in San Francisco. She was a gynecologist in China for 25 years. She works with people trying to conceive with and without fertility treatments. I got pregnant and held it (with her help) w/o fertility treatments but my understanding is she has doubled the rate of success for people using fertility treatments. now have twins
Here are my thoughts (me: fertility issues, one living child, age 41): when you get preg again get hcg test two days apart to make sure your levels are appropriate - this can tell you some info but not all. Also get your progesterone tested in case you need more - some women do. Accupuncture is fabulous for helping you get pregnant. Leslie Oldershaw in Oakland is amazing. As far as an RE, I'd reccomend Stanford & UCSF but you'll probably get the IVF push. I would consider some assistance - drugs/iui although statistically ivf is better than those (check cdc website for stats). Yes you can get pregnant on your own but it took 2 years. To be frank, you probably don't have two more years. Fertility declines dramatically at 41 (or there-abouts) and you had a tough time the first time. Resolve has some great resources/groups/information. I think women often think they can get pregnant as they get older because we hear of so many women who are pregnant at 41, 42, 43...etc. My guess is many did some form of ART/IVF/donor eggs. Miscarriage is really hard, especially after infertility. I am sorry you are facing this. good luck
I'm sorry for you loss...I'm sure you will get lots of responses because it is so difficult to face a miscarriage and so many of us have experienced one, if not many. I've had a few. The worst two were between my first and second child. At the time I felt that I would never move on...four years later it is a big blur. I was also older (37/38) and was worried about never having another chance. After two late/complicated miscarriages I had a pregnancy and gave birth to a healthy baby. Try to relax. I also think my doctor was excellent (Dr. Lanner-Cusin on Telegraph) and I would highly recommend her. anon
I hate to be a downer, but at 40 years old, you should go directly to ART. I got pregnant immediately after getting married at 37 and trying after 1 month, and then had an early miscarriage. I did not have a pregnancy and child for another 2 1/2 years, wasting months on trying naturally, fertility drugs without ART, until ART at the end. At 40, there are exceptions, but that is what they are - exceptions. Anon
I'm so sorry for your miscarriage. I had one myself at about 8 weeks and found it quite painful. The good news though, was that I went on after that to have two healthy pregnancies and babies (first born when I was age 40, second at 43). I was ready to turn to IVF for the second due to my age and difficulty conceiving since the first child, but ended up conceiving naturally before actually getting IVF. I believe what really helped me was acupuncture treatments I had with Marti Lee Kennedy in Berkeley. I had started them with the idea of preparing my uterus for implantation of IVF embryos. I found Marti to be wonderfully sympathetic, supportive, and helpful. best of luck to you in your process. another late mama
First, I am sorry to hear about your miscarriage. I had one in late 2005 and shortly after began seeing Debra Sue Kelvin, L.Ac., acupuncturist and chinese herbalist. She is located in El Cerrito (www.healthychi.com; Phone: (510) 334-2472). She helped me tremendously following the miscarriage and in getting my body ready for pregnancy again. I am now pregnant and due in about 5 weeks. I highly recommend her. She has a very caring way about her and is very knowledgeable about reproductive matters. Best of luck to you. Anon Anon
Just wanted to send a hopeful and positive note about the miscarriage - Some time back I had been trying to get pregnant for OVER a year and a half and finally did but had a miscarriage at 8 weeks. I took it as a good sign since I'd been afraid I didn't ever ovulate. I managed to get pregnant again almost immediately, about a month later, even though they told me to wait 3 months. Now I have a lovely 14 year-old boy! A miscarriage means something worked!
Mourning is individual, but my first m/c was the worst, and I had an insensitive Doc. Your doc is individual too, because I love Amy Huibonhoa (a relief after the first doc), and I find her to be personable, returns all her phone calls, and generally doesn't forget anything that is critical. Ask her about your concerns. You may also want to get a referral to an RE or a real fertility specialist-there is usually a waiting list, and the ob's make you wait till you have THREE m/c Pbut you should insist since youUre older & donUt have an extra yr. I thought Susan Willman in Orinda was great-really smart, straightforward, data-oriented (which I wanted, but you may not). She will first rule out the simple problems then look for other solutions and make suggestions. Keep in mind that some of this is not as black & white as you'd like--including the prometrium suppositories, which I also used (and believe in for luteal phase defects). It's not a guarantee, but it doesn't hurt. With a REAL specialist (beware the OB who calls himself a fertility specialist w/ no training), you get more answers to questions, more info, more care and more ultrasounds in the first trimester, which feels like hand-holding. You donUt get that w/ an OB. Contrary to what other posters have said, acupuncture can sometimes mess up other hormone levels and an RE will advise you to stop. Truth is, only 1 in 3 pregnancies is generally viable anyway, and even going to a specialist is not a guarantee of success (and certainly not immediate). But even acupuncture sometimes works on luck (by not screwing things up worse, and catching you on a good month). I was really motivated to look for every possible way to get pregnant and give birth. With that focus, more miscarriages seemed less traumatic to me. (though they were still painful). When I did get preg, I was focused on day to day and was almost surprised to find that I was giving birth to my daughter. Check out books like toni weschler Taking Charge of Your Fertility (tho some things in it are wrong, the temp shift is one sure way to know that you're ovulating, and a high temp for 10-12 days means your luteal phase is ok, and 16+ high temps means you're preg!), glance through books on recovering from m/c, pray if you want to, FOCUS on what you really want and what you need to get it. It feels better. Sometimes it was easier for me to get preg after a m/c or procedures that ''cleaned up'' the uterine walls. Good luck, and know that many others have survived this as well. (and don't spend a lot of time w/ new moms or preg women for a while!)

Fertility At 44

April 2005

Yesterday I had my second miscarriage within 8 months. This pregnancy resulted from having sex one time after having gone off birth control. It appears that while I can get pregnant, I cannot stay pregnant due probably to old eggs and chromosome issues.

I have been reviewing articles by Jon Cohen who wrote a book about miscarriage and older women which actually seems somewhat uplifting. I would like to explore the option of ''PGD'' pre genetic diagnosing eggs to essentially weed out the bad ones. This seems like a better option than just having miscarriage after miscarriage, however at 44 it would appear that the fertility clinic cut off age is 43.

Are there no exceptions? Even if it is shown the woman can become pregnant? Is the only option donor/adoption at this point. Any advice would be so greatly appreciated.


I am someone who did not stop trying not to get pregnant until I was 35, I had my first child at 42 and second at 45. I tried everything before I entered the world of modern medicine, I don't want to bore you with the details, but I had BAD exeriences until after numerous tearful supplications to my insurance company, I was referred through the mill and landed in the lap of Dr. Susan Willman. Her practice is in Orinda.

My insurance (blue shield) said that they did not cover any fertility. But they did pick up all of the tests and blood work and of course the pregnancy & birth. Willman's fee was not as much as other women I have talked to had to pay.....

Now I have met women who did not love her. She does not emit one ray of false hope. But, if she does give you something to hold onto, you can believe it. Besides, I have 2 perfect children thanks to her. I think that she is very good. Wishing you well!


You need to rule out a septate uterus. No doubt your docs have done numerous studies and reassured you that the uterus is normally formed. But quite simply, your doctors do not know how to diagnose a septate uterus. In the course of 6 miscarriages my wife and I went to the very best reproductive endocrinologists and fertility specialists in the region and across the country, and without fail, they missed this diagnosis. When an X-ray tech finally discovered the septum, my wife had a simple outpatient procedure and was (successfully) pregnant within three months. Since this time, 4 of our acquaintances have also suffered repeat miscarriage and been told that they had perfect uteri. All of them had septums, all of them now have babies.

I don't know why, I don't know how, but either docs are not trained to look for this, or it is simply exquisitely difficult to see with the various imaging technologies. We've found a doctor who excels at this, and I really think you can't afford not to consult with him. Any woman who suffers multiple miscarriages of unknown etiology should raise a high index of suspicion for suptate uterus. A septum is a non-vascular portion of the uterine wall. The fetus grows until it hits the septum, at which point it is denied blood flow and must miscarry.

I feel a bit like a snake-oil salesman here; I'm never this vehement about anything. But I've seen this diagnosis missed so many times that I am awestruck. Believe me, there is a lot of quackery out there. You are incredibly vulnerable right now and willing to try anything. (I sent a vial of cryogenically frozen sperm to the animal science lab at the Univ of Nebraska, but that's another story.) The bottom line is that at your age, you don't have much time. Your docs will tell you not to be concerned until three miscarriages, but you don't have that luxury.

The doc you need is Charles March, and unfortunately he's in LA. I really wouldn't accept anyone else--they just don't yet know how to look for septums. So do yourself a favor, spend 100 bucks on a flight to LA, see Dr. March and put this to rest. It may even be possible just to FedEx him your images. But don't fart around with immunology, acupuncture, off-the-wall genetic testing and everything else out there until you are dead sure that you don't have a septum. And PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don't ''just try it again and see what happens'' like your docs probably want you to. If you have a septum, your baby will miscarry. End of story. Sorry to be so blunt. I know this is a miserable thing to be going through. But time is of the essence and you can't afford not to know for sure. Dr Charles March is at 310-828-3310 310-828-4008 If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me. Best of luck. Don't give up. zac


I'm so sorry to hear about all of your troubles, it's heartbreaking. Have you tried acupunture? I'm 35, It took me nearly 2 years to get pregnant, I could get pregnant but for some reason it just wasn't working, so I tried acupuncture. Not only did it relieve a lot of stress I was having trying to get pregnant, I finally got pregnant! I 100% believe that she was the miracle worker. I often tell her that my daughter has her nose :). Chalita works out of Larkspur in Marin but makes house calls (to the EastBay & SF)! I continue to use her services for now recovering from birth and will go to her when trying for our next child as well. Her practice is primarily women based, focusing on fertility. She has such a warm and open way about her, can't say enough good things... You'll have to see for yourself. Her name is Chalita Photikoe. Email: chalita@chalitaphotikoe.com / Ph: 415.225.5285. Jen
I'm 42, and have had one miscarriage plus at least 2 other pregnancies lasting just a few days in the past 2 years. I had my hormones checked by my ob/gyn. From there I called UCSF fertility clinic. They said they do not discriminate by age. I haven't looked into it further (this was a month ago.) My guess is that it's the insurance people that may ''discriminate.'' However, if your hormone levels are good (day-3 FSH, LH, and estradiol), then the fertility doc ought to be able to make the case to the insurance folks that you are ''treatable.'' The next step is to consult with the fertility doctor to see if they do think you are treatable. I need to do that step. So I'd advise you to get your bloodwork done and call UCSF. By the way: I've heard.... but cannot testify... that there's no point to doing PGD at such an age as 44 because something like 80% or 90% of all eggs will be defective anyway at your age. PGD is stressful to the embryo. So it's best to just get the embryo into your body. If it's genetically defective, it probably won't lead to pregnancy in the first place. That's why at your age, it's not uncommon for fertility doctor to allow 5-6 embryos to be put into your body after invitro fertilization because they assume most won't result in a pregnancy. But if you do get pregnant, then you can let the fetus grow and do more testing later -- either a CVS and/or amnio. But if you don't have the emotional strength to even get that far with the possibility of a genetic discorder being discovered, then by all means try PGD. It is such a personal decision.... Your fertility doctor would probably be very helpful in this kind of decision. anon
Already having one child at 39 we were prepared to adopt after suffering from three physically and mentally painful pregnancies which resulted in miscarriages. Then at age 41 we finally carried a healthy pregnancy to term when we ''accidentally'' became pregnant within weeks after a D & C. So much for our doctor discouraging sex so soon after the last miscarriage and surgery. There is always hope as evidenced by the many older moms in Berkeley. Older Mom in Berkeley
There is a great support group on the web for this called fortility. I think it is accessible through www.surrogacy.org/fortility It is a great place to get any kind of knowledge or support for where there are doctors and clinics who work with the over 40 crowd. anon.

Conceiving after 40 w. high FSH

July 2003

Hi, I am 41, have a beautiful boy who is nearly three, and have been trying to conceive again for about 1.5 years. I had some tests that confirmed that my FSH is about 14, which is of course high. We also know that my husband's sperm is not great, high count but low mobility (it was the same when we conceived our 1st baby, however). I am doing accupuncture to enhance fertility, and soon may do a cycle of ovarian stimulation w. FSH plus artificial insemmination. Basically, what I hear from the doctors is that a pregnancy for us is a long shot, which makes me extremely sad. I am beginning to have a very hard time staying hopeful, even though I feel that hope is important to help us conceive. Additionally, my over-40 friends who have been trying to conceive all are pregnant now--but not me. It hurts.

Does anyone have any hopeful stories of conceiving after 40 with a high FSH? Or any words of wisdom, or spiritual practices that helped with attitude? I sure would be grateful for the help. Thank you! Trying to hope for a miracle


I was told at age 41 or 42 that my FSH was too high and I would never conceive. The OBGYN gave me a prescription for Clomid anyway, after telling me I'd need to see a fertility specialist if I wanted anything more suitable to my advanced age, but that I probably shouldn't bother. My husband had also been told that his sperm count was low. I eventually figured I'd try the Clomid, although I wouldn't have if I'd realized how expensive it was. In any case, I did get pregnant at 43, after many months of taking my temperature and charting my cycle, and I swore never to see that MD again. I went into menopause immediately after weaning my daughter, so it was clear that I wasn't going to have any more kids. I wish you luck and hope you can relax about it, or, if you really want more kids, consider adoption. You never know - women sometimes get pregnant when adoption is on the horizon, and if not, you've got another baby to love and raise. anon
This is not what you are asking, but might be worth thinking about What about adoption? I tried to get pregnant for many years and went through many types of fertility tests and treatments toward that end. I didn't pursue adoption until several years after my last treatment and felt very resigned toward not having bio kids, even if still sad about it. Then I began the process of adopting and have the most wonderful daughter (from China) that I could have ever dreamed of. I could not be more devoted to this child and if I could have known her back then, would not have been so vehement in my pursuit of a genetically related baby. The desire for bio offspring seems natural, but once you have a baby through adoption, you may forget about how the stork delivered your baby and the love will be the same. Something sad can turn into something happy. Anon
I was told I had high FSH levels at age 39 by my RE following a chlomid challenge test and the RE (Dr. Chetkowski) told me I would not be a good candidate for IVF. This was very depressing for me, but rather than give up, my husband and I started pursuing adoption in order to have a second child. Dr. C suggested we pursue an IUI following the chlomid challenge and, voila, we conceived. I am now 14 weeks pregnant and enjoying every minute of it. The week we conceived was the most dramatic week of my recent life, one minute I felt pre-menopausal and the next I got pregnant. There is hope, stay the course! debbie
Stay hopeful! I got pregnant with my son at 41 (after 2 miscarriages) and the doom and gloom high FSH speech. The trick for me was artifical insemination (without ovarian stimulation). I am even hopeful for #2, have gotten pregnant X2 but miscarried but I'm sure there is still ONE more good egg. Another high FSH Mom Anon
Just a hopeful note. My husband and I had 3 kids with no problems in the late 80s/early 90s. Then I had an incredible, irresistable urge to have one more at 40. I don't know about FSH levels. It was my husband's sperm that had changed. He had a testicular vein problem and his sperm were abnormal (heads and tails) as well as low motility. My OB_GYN looked at his samples under the scope before our first try at insemination (artificial, I guess). And she said 0% chance. Nothing moving, nothing normal looking, no way, sorry. But she inseminated me anyway. I went home and cried for a few days. My period never came. I delivered an incredible baby boy in November 2000. My Dr. said it was a f--ing miracle. And she is a fertility expert. Good luck. Keep faith. older mother with a miracle baby
Oh hon, been there, done that!! I feel for you. I was right in your shoes, but my story has a happy ending, and I can offer you much hope. I had my first, a boy, at age 37, and when he was 3, we started hoping for 'just one more'. After a fruitless time of trying on our own, we went to Reproductive Partners (in Los Angeles, where we lived at the time). I could give you much in the way of details. Very long story short, we were told, like you, that it was 'a long shot' with high FSH, but I sit here now with my baby in my arms. Yes, my own egg, and no, not even in vitro. If you do some searching, you will find a lot of support on the web...there is a special High FSH group, which I recommend highly, along with related groups Pregnant despite High FSH, and High FSH over 40. Also the boards on ''incite'', especially the over-40 board. Wonderful women. I would be happy to give you further help and info. We considered going to one of the top centers in the US for this (Cornell) but managed to get pregnant the month before. Doctors will pooh-pooh you, but I know of many high FSH women who are now moms, second-time moms, etc. I remember crying endlessly after that first doctor's doomsday speech, but don't believe it quite yet. There are lots of things that I did to help, who knows what really did it...but I have lots of suggestions for you and many success stories. Try everything that makes sense to you. There is also a helpful book out there about high FSH from someone who has been there...I've already given away my copy...it's called Against all odds, or Inconceivable, or some such. Attitude is essential!!! But also some very down to earth advice. The cycle I conceived, I was practicing 'positive thinking', a first, by the way, along with acupuncture, milk avoidance (galactose - see the literature), various vitamins and herbs, acupuncture, massage, fertility drugs, wheatgrass juice (ack), and insisted on an estrogen patch (also a first for that cycle). Who knows what worked, but it did. I do urge you to see the best RE (reproductive endocrinologist) you can find, and pronto...most lose interest after you are 43, and they consider you to be 43 once you are over 42.5. That is, if you are set on using your own egg, which we were (with a first child already, we wanted them 'to match' genetically, or not at all.) If you are open to using a donor egg, then your chances are much better, because it is the eggs that age, not the uterus. By the way, I got pregnant at 42.5 and am now almost 45. Feel free to contact me. But most of all, seek a good RE, seek support among your over-40 and high-FSH peers (there are lots and lots!!! you are not alone!!!!) Karen
I don't have first hand experience with high FSH, but as I went struggled with infertility I met 2 people with high FSH who conceived through IVF while doing acupuncture with Dr. Angela Wu in San Francisco. She is quite amazing and specializes in fertility issues. If you're not seeing her perhaps both you and your husband should consider a consultation.

If you are seriously attached to having another child that is genetically yours, I would highly recommend foregoing IUI (artificial insemination) and go straight to IVF wth ICSI (where they inject the sperm right into the egg). The odds of IUI working are not good in your situation, especially in consideration of your male factor issues. I would be afraid that after several tries you'll find you've spent as much money as you would have on IVF and wasted 6 months.

In the meantime there are some homespun things you and your husband can do to improve the situation....

YOU Give up sugars and carbs and eat protein and green vegetables. Follow something like the Atkins diet. (after 3 years of trying this is what finally worked for me). Relax and stay stress free (ha ha!)

HUSBAND Tons of Vitamin C and L-Arginine. No cigarettes, alcohol and ESPECIALLY NO POT (this has totally ill effects on motility) for 3 months prior to trying (sperm life cycle 90 days).

Sending you best thoughts and apologies if this message seems abrupt, vague in places and does not offer much spiritual advice. anon


My recommendation If you really want a baby and can afford it, don't bother with any other fertility stimulating regimen--go straight to IVF asap (with ICSI for your husband). I was 43 when I conceived this way, with a pretty high FSH level, and it worked wonderfully. You're too old to have any real chance of success using any other method and too old to delay. (How old was your mother when she went thru menopause? This is a key piece of info that should help you and your doctors decide whether you're too old.) UCSF takes insurance, and the IVF team there is fantastic. They're also more likely than some other places to take ''older'' women (40-plus). GOOD LUCK! anon
I felt like your post had my name on it. I'm 39.75yo with high FSH (18.3 as of Feb. 2003, probably in the 20s by now) and also have a 3yo whom I love more than anything. My husband and I want so much to give our child a sibling and have been trying to conceive #2 for the past 24 months. We are finally pregnant from an IVF/ICSI cycle I did in June with Dr. Geoffrey Sher at Sher Insitute of Reproductive Medicine (''SIRM'') in Las Vegas (www.haveababy.com), but it has been a very long, rocky road.

My husband also has male factor issues (normal volume and count, but low motility and morphology). We conceived our first child spontaneously despite being told that we would not be able to conceive without IVF/ICSI due to the male factor issues. We very much wanted to avoid IVF/ICSI for our second child, so we had been trying almost everything else possible for the past 28 months. We tried varicolcelectomy and Proxeed for my husband (didn't help), and 5 cycles of Clomid with IUI. Nothing worked. In retrospect, I wish my Reproductive Endocrinologist had been more forthright with me. The sad truth is If you're 40 or over, particularly if you have male factor issues, you're wasting valuable time by trying anything other IVF with ICSI. Also, high FSH gives you another unfortunate twist. Many IVF clinics will discourage you from even trying IVF unless your FSH is 10 or less. You will be given the ''your chances with your own eggs is less than 1%, why don't you try donor eggs'' speech.

All that being said, it is not impossible, but it is difficult to conceive with your own eggs at 40+ with high FSH. You should, however, do your research and go into this with your eyes open. Here are my suggestions

1. Ask yourself how much you really want a second child and if the second child must be your biological child. You'll find that infertility takes over your life, and it's good to be really clear on what you're doing before embarking. You'll be told over and over again that your chances of conceiving will be much better if you use donor eggs, but that is a big step to take emotionally. You may also wish to consider adoption. While considering these options, it's probably a good idea to seek out counseling. RESOLVE has the names of therapists who specialize in infertility issues and can help you work through the whole biological child v. donor egg vs. adoption issue.

2. Ask yourself how much time and money you want to invest in the process of having a second child. We ended up spending 2+ years, and many, many thousands of dollars, even though we are fortunate enough to have infertility insurance. We had to take out a 2nd mortgage on our home to finance our costs. I also ended up quitting my job because the infertility journey was taking so much time and energy.

3. Get support and info. There is a ''Women over 40 with high FSH'' support board at www.network54.com/Forum/53068 that is an excellent source of info. Other websites I've found useful are ivfconnections.com and fertileheart.com. There's an excellent list of books at the ivfconnections.com website that you might want to check out. In particular, read Julia Indichova's book ''Inconceivable'' about a woman who conceived naturally at the age of 44 with FSH of 42. Fertileheart.com is her website.

4. If you decide you want to pursue treatment with your own eggs, find yourself an EXCELLENT Reproductive Endocrinologist (i.e., a fertility expert). Do not waste your time with Gyns. Also, you need to find yourself the RIGHT RE. Most REs will tell you that they do not recommend treatment at your age and with your FSH. I would do as much research about high FSH/REs as possible. The high FSH support board is a good place to start. Locally, I would stay away from any RE/clinic other than Dr. Christo Zouves at Zouves Fertility Center in Daly City (www.goivf.com) or possibly Dr. Miliki at Stanford. The top REs nationally for high FSH are Dr. Sher at SIRM in Las Vegas and Dr. Jerome Check at Cooper Institute in Marlton, New Jersey. They have very different approaches and are each quite controversial. Each has a pretty good success rate with women with high FSH, however.

5. If you want to try with your own eggs, I highly recommend Traditional Chinese Medicine as an alternative therapy. The big ticket item around here is Dr. Angela Wu on Clement Street in S.F. (www.wushealingcenter.com). Her practice is devoted to fertiliy issues and she has a lot of success with older/high FSH women. She is, however, VERY expensive - expect to pay $200+ per treatment, including herbs. Also, it takes a lot of time and energy to trek out to the outer Richmond once or twice per week. Again, you need to decide upfront how much time, money and energy you want to put into this. I've also heard and read excellent things about Dr. Y.C. Chiang in El Cerrito. Other local acupuncturists who treat infertility are Leslie Oldershaw in Piedmont and Nancy Rakela and Marty Lee Kennedy in Berkeley. Also check out www.easternharmony.com. There's an excellent article about maternal age and egg quality there with TCM suggestions on improving egg quality.

6. Don't overlook the male factor issue. Many REs believe that the best way for older women with high FSH to conceive is naturally. The only urologist around here worth much in terms of infertility is Dr. Paul Turek at UCSF. There might be something that can be done about your husband's condition.

7. If you really want a child, believe that you will get the child that is meant for you, whether the child comes to you from your own eggs, through donor eggs or adoption.

Best of luck to you! Been there


I too had a very high FSH level, much higher than yours and went on to conceive at the age of 39--ended in miscarriage; at the age of 40--another miscarriage; and am pregnant now once again at 41--say a prayer for me. My doctor at 39 told me that there was very little chance of my conceiving and that I should consider a donor egg. I went on, as you can see, to conceive three times. So, the doctors don't always know everything. While I had given up faith, my husband never did. It helps to be in touch with your ovulation cycle--determine your most fertile days through cervical mucous and temperature and be sure to have sex those days. I'd say give it another year. Unlike in-vitro, if you do decide to go the donor egg route or adoption, there's no age limit, so you might as well try a little longer.
I, too, had an FSH of 14 and got ''the talk'' about how difficult it may be to conceive again. I went home, cried, and kicked myself for waiting so late to start trying to conceive. But in a weird twist of fate, the very month I got that news we got pregnant and now have a baby boy.

Sometimes I wonder if I stopped stressing out that month. (''Probably won't work but we might as well have fun!'') Maybe that helped. Who knows. Probably just a fluke. But if you can try not to worry too much... I know that's hard to do.

That being said, I had also started to think about adoption or invitro. Good luck! FSH is just a number


I'm 41 with teens, want another baby

Nov 2001

I am looking for a fertility specialist in the Berkeley area. I have searched the UCB Parents archives and found the information there to be from 1998 and 1999. I am forty one years old with two kids eleven and sixteen. I really want another baby. However I do not feel that I need in vitro or artificial insemination. I am just interested in drug therapy. Any advice or recommendations would be good. Alexandra


If you're only interested in trying a medication such as Clomid, you can probably get that from your regular ob/gyn, and use it alone without IUI or IVF. Clomid is inexpensive and a relatively simple treatment but it has it's drawbacks, too. If it takes more than that, I would suggest you see a knowledgable specialist other than your regular ob/gyn and I highly recommend the doctors at Pacific Fertility Center in SF. It doesn't come cheap, but they're really top notch. Good luck.
In addition to consulting an M.D. fertility specialist, you may want to consider seeing an acupuncturist who works with infertility patients. My fertility specialist (not in California) actually had his patients work with an acupuncturist as a complementary therapy. Here in Berkeley, Dr. Nancy Rakela (an oriental medical doctor, not an M.D.) has a lot of experience working with infertility patients. I worked with Nancy before my in vitro cycle, and I saw medical proof (Doppler ultrasound) that the acupuncture improved the blood flow to my ovaries and uterus. Dr. Rakela is located on 10th Street, and she is listed in the phone book. Maria
to the woman who only wanted drug therapy, I'd strongly urge her to find out first what the problem is. Personally, I feel with all the potential problems associated with fertility drugs, particularly for women over 40, you're much better off finding out if there's an even simpler solution (or less invasive one). (Aside from the increased likelihood of multiple births, and the possibilty that they could dry your cervical fluid, hindering pregnancy, there are some noteworthy health risks.) And as someone else mentioned, if you're determined to take fertility drugs, you don't need a fertility specialist, just a willing ob/gyn. If you're more willing to be proactive and methodical, I'd suggest a few things: A book by Toni Weschler, called "Taking Charge of Your Fertility," and checking out some of the information on a few websites (www.resolve.org, www.inciid.org). If you conclude that you do, in fact, need a fertility specialist, Susan Willman in Orinda is wonderful. But I suspect, from what I've seen in her care, that she probably wouldn't consider just randomly prescribing drugs to you. And not every fertility treatment involves IVF or IUI. It really depends on what is going on for you. Dr. Willman has a fairly long wait (up to 2 months) for the initial appointment, and she strongly recommends a series of tests before you even see her, to rule out some common problems.

Have teens, thinking about a baby

May 2001

We are considering having a third child - our first two are in middle school and high school. I would really like to have a baby but my husband is 10 years older than I am, feels he is too old, and also feels it would put a financial strain on the family. I would like to hear from other parents who had a baby after 40 - how did it work out for you?


The woman who wrote said "we" are considering having a baby but then said her husband was opposed--so I think she is thinking of having another baby. I had my one and only child at 43 (currently a high school sophomore; my husband has two children in their thirties from his first marriage--we never raised them). My husband was also resistant, but I desperately wanted to have a child. There are a lot of advantages to being an older parent: you have more patience because you have more sense of the impermanence of everything in life. This too shall pass! Also, the Bay Area is a great place to do it if you're going to, because there are so many other older parents. My child never got angry with me for being "too old" which I was almost certain was going to happen. The primary problems are increased risk of ill health and/or death before child is fully grown. I know three kids who lost mothers to cancer, for instance, and three other mothers who have had cancer. Also extended financial obligations. My husband's high school gang is now retiring and we have two years to go before our child even enters college! A friend of mine had a situation like yours--two older kids--and desperately wanted another. Her husband objected because starting over again would mean another twenty years before they were ever alone with each other. Why did she want to do it? I think now, she was desperately trying for a girl, and finally got one, which made her very, very happy. Why do you want another child? Ozzie
We had our third child when I was 41 and my husband was 48. Being older, the pregnancy and labor were more difficult but ultimately all went well. When I first became pregnant, my husband was very concerned about being an older father but it has become a non-issue. He has plenty of company in Berkeley since many of our son's friends have older parents as well. I think it gives us both an added incentive to maintain our health.

Finances are usually a concern. You need to ask yourselves how much you and your husband really want to do this, is it somewhat realistic or would it cause severe hardship and whether you can reach an agreement which works for both of you. We have no regrets and while my husband isn't particularly verbal, I know that despite his initial misgivings, this child has enriched his life immeasurably and he is truly grateful for him. Good luck!


I had the same conflict for a while. My son is 12years old and my 22 month baby girl was born when I was 43. I just have to say that I love having them both. The difference in age is a huge plus. It couldn't be any better. They are great with each other! I wanted a baby so much that it was beyond reason, I am glad. My son goes to private school. We don't know yet how it is going to be when the time comes for my daughter to be in school, as far as money goes, but I am sure we will figure something out when the time comes. Good Luck!!!
When my 2 boys were in their Jr. and Sr. years at UCB, I was 42, pregnant and single. I was ecstatic; the Dad was not, but came around. He is now the best Dad and very grateful I decided to have our son, who is now a wonderful 15 year old. My older sons have always been supportive and they are both very close to their little brother. Before my 3rd son, I always felt I had one child to go, so had a yearning which couldn't be denied. For a person primarily ruled by logic, this was such a strong primal feeling that I had to pay attention, and yielding to it made me fearless. That sense that it was "meant to be", along with 21 years mothering experience, made me a calm mama. What a difference between mothering at 21 and mothering at 42! It is much better for everyone involved when you don't sweat the small stuff. I do agree with one person who commented that health might be a consideration. But money? Who ever died wishing they had more money and less love in their life? Best wishes
Have you tried to get pregnant after 40? I would like to hear from any over 43 moms about getting pregnant for the second time. I'm told it's only a 5% chance. Just wondering what success rate we have at UC. Did nursing interfere with getting pregnant? Has anyone tried any of the new drugs that encourage you to produce eggs but also give you big-time PMS.
Note:

There are a couple of good resources on the web for people interested in fertility issues and over-40 pregnancies: Low-tech Ways to Conceive (FAQ from various newsgroups) -LONG- Pregnancy After 40: email discussions on ParentsPlace.com


I am now 43. I don't know about getting pregnant over 43, but I do know about infertility. I tried to get pregnant starting from age 38 to 41. I tried the fertility drugs, Clomid and Pergonal. My suggestion is to take it a step at a time...first try to get pregnant on your own. Or start out with an infertility specialist to assess your hormone levels, etc. and start on the Clomid. Pergonal is very expensive $100+/injection, can cost about $2,000/month (most insurance does not cover). I had no success with either drug, did not produce any more than 1 egg per cycle. Experienced no side effects with the pergonal, got occasional hot flashes with the Clomid. A woman I know who started Clomid at the age of 43, experienced severe side effects, bleeding, overstimulation of ovaries, etc. As it turned out, she was taking the drug and not ovulating every month--she didn't know because her ob/gyn didn't have the expertise/equipment to monitor this. My opinion is that the older you are in trying these drugs, there may be an affect on any pre-menopausal conditions that may be starting up...In any event, please take these drugs under close monitoring (ultrasound) by a specialist--don't have your ob/gyn prescribe them if he/she does not have the ability to do this.
I tried to get pregnant during my early 40s unsuccessfully. We did use some medical intervention (including some drugs) but never got as far as IVF. There have been great strides made in IVF but many programs will not take women over 40. (When I checked into it, about 6 years ago, that included UCSF which has a good program. If I recall right, they did not admit they would not take women over 40 but upon learning my age, they promised for months to have the doctor call me and she never did. This same thing happened to a couple other women I spoke with). If you have not already heard of them, there is a group called RESOLVE which is a great resource for information on infertility. It is a national group with an excellent Bay Area chapter. You might want to give them a call for information.

We ended up joining a Resolve support group which was terrific. In the group of 6 couples, 4 over 40, 2 of the over 40 year olds did get pregnant and give birth to healthy children. Both of the under 40 year olds did likewise. The rest of us adopted. IVF was used for all but one of the pregnancies. For both women over 40 who gave birth, donor eggs were used. Obviously this is just anecdotal info but I thought you might be interested. If you go the IVF route, be sure to get info from the program you choose not merely on number of pregnancies they have also on number of babies carried to term.


I had no luck at all with Clomid (one of the medications used to stimulate ovulation and availability of fertile eggs). Tried for the better part of a year; checking my temperature as a signal for ovulation, scheduling sex and keeping all kinds of charts to document efforts. There was another medication the doctor also tried (can't remember name) but to no avail. PMS was not an issue for me.

My first and only child was born at age 39 and quite frankly I should have attempted pregnancy earlier, "if " I had been serious. Of course I wasn't "ready" at an earlier age and am very pleased with my decision.

Our clocks are all different and my periods became "very iffy" by 42. There is some thinking that heredity (our mothers) has something to do with this. I am very grateful for my only child and all that I can give simply because I am an "older" Mom.

We know that there are wonderful success stories out there . . . and some not so wonderful stories. All things in life really have a strange way of working out exactly the way they are supposed to" with or without medical intervention". I wish you the best of luck and success in whatever decision and choices you make.


While I wasn't pregnant after 43, I was pregnant at the age of 42, which is pretty close. It wasn't any harder getting pregnant at 42 than it was earlier with my first two children, at the ages of 36 and 40. All three times it took a year or two of trying, with no artificial aids.

The most helpful thing was when I figured out when I ovulated, by charting my temperature before rising each AM, then started timing sex for my fertile days.

When I first started trying to get pregnant at 35, my doctor became concerned and started me and my husband on some tests. Several of my friends were trying for the first time in their thirties, and not getting pregnant either. First, it just takes longer at that age. Second, our own concerns, our doctors' concerns, and all the publicity about biological clocks, made us incredibly anxious. Unfortunately, tension and anxiety sometimes interfere with getting pregnant.

It's likely to help, and it won't hurt, if you cut down on your stresses and do relaxing things. I got pregnant the first time after finally getting a pet cat, as I had been wanting to do for a while. Coincidence? Maybe. Or maybe not. Other people advise taking a relaxing vacation. Good luck.


I had our son when I was 40 using Pergonal. They have no clue why it worked, but we were lucky. We tried Pergonal again just before my 42nd birthday with no luck. We had been given about a 5-10% chance of a pergonal cycle working. We were hoping I could get enough eggs on one of the cycles to do an IVF to bypass any questions if the eggs fertilized.

We tried 3 cycles of it with no luck and were told to use donor eggs. The last cycle I used 6 amps of metrodin (same as pergonal) each day for 10 days. That was $3000 for those drugs alone, but we were lucky that our insurance covered it.

We went for a 2nd opinion at UCSF (I was going to Chetkowski in Berkeley) Dr. Schriock looked at my FSH test levels from day 2 of my cycle and said given my results, he never would have done a cycle. My odds of producing eggs were low, odds that one would implant lower, odds of miscarriage were growing and odds of deformities growing.

Sorry for such lousy news. All I would suggest is you go to a specialist from the start and have them explain all the test results right off. The reason we kept trying was because we are blessed with a healthy son that they didn't think we would conceive AND insurance paid for most everything.


From: Andrea Hi, Finally getting a chance to catch up on some email, and wanted to reply to one woman's request for "over 43" pregnancy stories.

You can definitely put mine on the Success side. I was 45. My first and at that time, only, daughter was 21 - years, not months, and on her own. I got pregnant on an "oops." I'm sure the fact that I wanted very much to have another child was helpful. My now 7-yr-old daughter was born with both my daughter and my husband's grown daughter as birth coaches in the L & D room. Tama scored 9 1/2 on her Apgar and is a normal, "spirited" child who is the light of my life.

Our story became something of a legend among a group of (a little younger) friends who had been trying to get pregnant. And most or all of them did end up conceiving. So don't feel like it's hopeless, sisters. We're living proof that it's not.

And I'd like to say that even though adoption is long, tedious and expensive, I feel certain that a child is a child, and an adopted child is every bit as much "your" child as a birth child, and you will become just as attached and just as in love, even though she doesn't come through your body.

By the way, my older daughter has her own daughter, age 4. The two girls are the best of friends and mine takes her "aunt" role very seriously. We think of ourselves as heavily invested in kids over here, and the truth is, kids of all ages are right up there in my list of the top 5 things of life.

I would love to hear from other older moms of 6-8 yr olds. I find myself so much more patient and skilled at parenting this time around, even though this child is so-o-o much more challenging than the first one.

P.S. I spent the Fourth w/friends and met a woman who had her first, a boy, at 43, after trying for years and finally adopting a precious little girl. She says 1) there's no difference in the intensity of her love for the two kids, and 2) she believes she couldn't get pregnant because her daughter had to "find" her and be adopted into her family first.


(submitted anonymously)

At 45 I decided I wanted a baby. I got pregnant at 45-1/2, with very little intercourse. I had an uneventful pregnancy with no nausea, and I was only tired for an hour or so on two occasions. I had a natural vaginal delivery and my son is perfect. I'm incredibly lucky and was motivated to change my mind about having a baby due to all the infertility around me. I swam every day until two weeks before the birth, when I felt like quitting. The day I went into labor (13 days before due date), I walked on the pier at the Berkeley Marina, ate hot Mexican food, sat at an outdoor cafe, went home when my water broke, went to the hospital when my contractions were down to four minutes and gave birth five hours later. I never went to Lamaze classes because I thought they would scare me, and I knew I knew how to relax and breathe because of years of martial arts and yoga. I also thought that women have been having babies for thousands of years and that I could too.

I always had a hopeful, positive can-do attitude, I ate lots of food while I was trying to get pregnant, and I've always been very athletic. I guess I'm just lucky, and I pray it happens to everyone else who wants one. The best moment in my life was when amnio went ok, because with any woman that age there is a one in 38 chance of the baby having the 23rd chromosome be defective. I'm not bragging, just trying to give hope to people who are trying so hard. I hope they all get lucky like Andrea (from the last Digest) and me.

I'm never tired now; I don't feel like an older mom, except for the infinite joy, wisdom, and patience part.


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