(Last updated: 3/9/2021)
Conceiving after the age of 40 becomes more difficult with age, but all is not lost. While it is generally more challenging to become pregnant later in life, it is possible for many women in their 40s to get pregnant to carry a baby to term. In the end, proactive efforts that you take can ease the way to conception and benefit the health of your unborn child as well. Take advantage of these ten tips to improve egg quality after 40.
1. Consult a fertility specialist with experience with women over 40.
At this age, you are likely to need some help from a fertility specialist to conceive, unless you are one of the lucky few. Not all fertility doctors have enough experience with women over 40, and many of them turn away women once they hit 42, or offer only donor egg IVF. Seek out a fertility center or fertility specialist that specializes in helping women over 40 get pregnant, so that you’ll receive the best available treatment for your age and ovarian function.
2. Take fertility supplements.
One of the best moves you can make yourself is to take supplements designed to enhance fertility in general - and egg quality in specific. The top two supplements to boost egg quality and improve fertility are DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) and CoQ10 (coenzyme Q10).
- DHEA is converted in the body to testosterone, which is - perhaps paradoxically - necessary for the optimal ovarian environment for the developing eggs.
- CoQ10 provides vital antioxidants to protect eggs from oxidative damage. CoQ10 also supports the energy metabolism of your eggs as they go through the maturation process.
3. Get your hormone levels tested.
Hormones play a major role in the quality of your eggs. Have your levels checked for Basal FSH, anti-Mullerian hormone, and estradiol. The results will give you and your fertility doctor a good idea of how well your ovaries are working, and what kind of treatment you might need in order to conceive.
4. Start as soon as possible.
If you haven't had a chance to start a family until 40, you need to be proactive to conceive. The number of healthy eggs that will implant in the uterus and develop into a healthy baby diminishes as time passes - age isn’t your friend when it comes to conception. So, if you are in a position to start trying, start now.
5. Watch your weight.
Studies suggest that obesity can negatively affect success of fertility treatments. One thing to consider, though, is that it takes time to lose weight in a healthy way - and that time might be precious, especially if you are in your mid- to late 40s. That's why doctors often recommend starting pregnancy attempts without waiting for the weight to drop.
6. Don’t use drugs and limit the use of alcohol.
In order to give yourself the best chances to have a healthy pregnancy, take good care of yourself and don’t abuse substances that will harm your eggs, as well as your body.
7. Eat a healthy diet.
Your body is your temple. Use fuel that will benefit your entire system. Eating healthy is also a good way to reduce stress that is sadly often a part of the fertility journey in your 40s.
8. Remain hydrated.
Keep the water flowing to ensure that all systems are on go.
9. Stay active.
Keep your body strong in anticipation of a healthy pregnancy. Much like a healthy diet, being active, even if it's just 15 minutes of stroll outside, has psychological benefits, too.
10. Consider an egg donor.
When all else fails, consider the possibility of egg donation. While egg donation is the last resort for most, it does give you a much higher pregnancy rate than IVF with your own eggs, especially as you approach mid- to late 40s.