Are you experiencing a baby fever? It’s common for anyone to have the urge to expand their families, especially when you have waited for too long, irrespective of the reason. Alot of couples and or individuals often come to us with a common query whether we are too old to conceive a child via gestational surrogacy or what is the surrogacy age limit for intended parents. We understand your concern and that’s why we will be discussing everything about conceiving at an older age.
Through the advancement of science and technology conceiving after 35 has become possible through in-vitro fertilization (IVF) but often people have concerns about conceiving after 40-45 years of age. Conceiving can become a task after a certain for a few individuals while few can still carry a child to term even after 40.
Though various factors play a role in conceiving after 40 is your current fertility condition, health status, and how close you or your female partner is closer to menopause.
Let us walk you through the different factors about conceiving at an older age from viable options, to old-age pregnancy, and related elements.
- How old is too old to give birth?
- Menopause and conceiving with surrogacy age limit
- Perks of conceiving a baby at an older age via gestational surrogacy
- The risk associated with pregnant women above 40 years old
- Perks of family planning
- Can older intended parents qualify for surrogacy programs?
- Creating embryos with self-gamete materials
- Additional options to successfully conceive post-45
- Why surrogacy is good for older intended parents?
- Bottom line
How old is too old to give birth?
The common question that we as a surrogacy agency often come across is how old is too old to give birth? Let us first understand the biological clock of a woman.
A biological clock starts when a woman begins her first menstrual cycle and ends when she reaches her menopause stage. As you start aging, the chances of conceiving naturally decrease as the quality of the egg decrease at a certain age and egg reserve diminish due to hormonal changes.
Why does conceiving in older age becomes a tedious procure? This is because in general, a girl in her puberty has around 3,00,000 -5,00,000 eggs. The number of eggs drastically drops to 25,000 at the age of 35-37 and the number of eggs keeps decreasing to 1,000 or free by she turns 51.
According to statistics, when a woman is younger in her 20s and 30s only 1 in 4 women experiences the chances of conception each month. Whereas, the couple who considers giving birth in their late 40s or early 50s only 1 in 10 women may experience successful conception.
Menopause and conceiving with surrogacy age limit
Menopause could be another factor that makes pregnancy difficult after the 40s. Since a woman observes irregular to no periods after she turns 40 or 45 she may have reached the milestone of menopause. While some experience this condition in their early 40s and others may reach menopause in their 50s as well.
Usually, before the menstrual cycle completely stops, there’s a stage called perimenopause where a woman will observe longer and irregular periods. Usually, a woman would enter into perimenopause in her mid-40s but some women may observe symptoms of perimenopause in their mid-30s as well. In this stage, you are still producing eggs by this time which still makes pregnancy possible but conception may get very difficult.
To give a short answer of how old is too old to give birth a woman in her late 40s and 50s may find it nerve-wracking to conceive naturally. Couples and single women considering conceiving a baby in their old age would need the assistance of in-vitro fertilization or building their families via gestational surrogacy.
Perks of conceiving a baby at an older age via gestational surrogacy
Building a family in your late 40s or 50s via gestational surrogacy can be very overwhelming. However, there are a few advantages that only older couples can benefit from.
More emotionally prepared
There is no surrogacy age limit for intended parents until and unless they have a good health status and the capability to foster a child completely. And it is observed that intended parents in their later life have the emotional maturity to handle and manage life with infants.
A study published in the European Journal of Development says that mothers who are 31 or above were less likely to scold their offspring or compel discipline. This resulted in a positive impact on the child’s development, making their infant more social, emotionally healthy, and well-behaved.
Usually, individuals have more financial stability in their later life. As per the statistics, only 24% of Americans are financially independent by the age of 22 and the numbers contrasts by 32% in 1980 which means today people are taking more time to become financially stable due to the rising cost of living.
Furthermore, a few studies state that 45% of people between 18-29 years still seek for financial assistance from their families. The research proves that being financially stable in the later phase of life reduces a great amount of stress which affects raising the family.
More career flexibility
Intended parents who wait to conceive later in life via gestational surrogacy have a more flexible and successful career. The intended parents who conceive in their late 20s or early 30s may find it very difficult to focus on their babies as they have to focus on their careers as well and this can make fostering a stressful experience.
Whereas, by the time you consider conceiving in older age you can completely focus on your career goals and then give your 100% to your infant in a later period of your life.
You are less likely to file for a divorce
A few research states that couples who get married at an older age are less likely to get divorced. Waiting a bit longer to find the right partner and having kids with them can increase the chances of your kids being raised in a two-parent household.
The risk associated with pregnancy for women above 40 years old
While getting pregnant can be possible even after 35 or 40, you must be aware that there are certain probable health risks for the intended mother and baby as well that increases with the rising maternal age.
The risk of miscarriage increases with the decrease in egg quality and number. In addition, the loss of pregnancy may also occur due to other health conditions like high blood pressure, or diabetes.
Older women have a high chance to experience chromosome issues. For instance, conceiving a baby with down syndrome is around 1 in 1,480 for women aged in their 20s, whereas the risk of this condition drastically increases when a woman is in her 40s to 1 in 85 ratios.
Diabetes that develops during pregnancy leads to the baby growing large while still he or she is inside the womb. The possibility of injury increases when a baby is a large and gestational diabetes can lead to high blood pressure issues for the intended mother and premature birth or other complications for the infant.
As a woman gets closer to menopause, achieving pregnancy can become very difficult. As we discussed earlier, the number and quality of eggs decrease with the increased age of women which can make fertilization and implantation with eggs very difficult.
Having twins or more babies can seem like a blessing after struggling or waiting for years but carrying multiples to terms comes with certain additional risks, for which you must consult a fertility or surrogacy professional before conceiving.
The reason why twins or multiple babies are more common after the age of 35 is due to the hormonal change, you may release more than one egg per cycle, and using assisted reproductive technology can also increase your chances of conceiving multiples.
Low birth weight of your baby
Different maternal complications may lead to the premature birth of your baby with low birth weight. Furthermore, this can result in more complications with your child.
As you have pregnancy complications, the chances to undergo cesarean delivery increases over vaginal delivery. The cesarean delivery rate increases with the age of a woman. As per the statistics, the chances of need for cesarean delivery for women aged 20-40 years is around 26%, and for a woman between the age range of 35-48, the chances increase to 40%
High blood pressure
Women above 40 are more likely to develop gestational hypertension or preeclampsia during their pregnancy.
Since there are chances that a woman may experience these risk factors during pregnancy either through natural pregnancy or via IVF. And in a few cases, women cannot carry a baby either due to a weaker womb or other reasons, in that situation conceiving via gestational surrogacy may only be a viable option for the intended parents.
Perks of family planning
Even if you want to begin your family in the later stage of your life, you can still conceive a healthy child with prior family planning. By using contraception and fertility management you and your partner can decide when and how many babies you want to conceive in the future.
Family planning permits couples to have financial stability and emotional maturity and they can take benefit like advancing their careers by the time they become parents. We have listed below a few more benefits of family planning.
- Allowing intended parents to achieve their career goals
- Conceiving whenever individuals are ready
- Reduction in infant mortality
- Sustainable population growth
- And more
The fertility age of a woman is around 18- 35 after that conceiving can get a difficult task. Couples who are considering expanding their families after 38 must consider family planning and prefer freezing their gamete materials, which can benefit you from using your gametes and you can conceive a biologically linked child effectively.
Can older intended parents qualify for surrogacy programs?
By the time intended parents discover surrogacy, they have already undergone various other conceiving methods. While adoption has certain age criteria as not all birth parents are comfortable letting older couples adopt their children due to various reasons and many adoption agencies have restrictive requirements for adoptive parents including age as a big barrier for them.
While intended parents understand why surrogacy is good or ideal program for them to expand a family, they have similar concerns with this method as well. We understand your concern. As per the surrogacy law, there isn’t any specific requirement or surrogacy age limit for intended parents. However, every surrogacy agency would have different criteria to be eligible for their surrogacy programs.
In a few cases, certain agencies won’t allow intended parents above 60 to undergo a surrogacy process. And in all old intended parents’ journey factors are discussed before beginning the process with the intended parents. Factors include:
- What if one of the partners meets with natural death before the birth of the baby?
- In a divorce-like situation who gets custody of the baby
Creating embryos with self-gamete materials
While there isn’t any barrier with the surrogacy age limit creating embryos with your gamete materials can be a difficult task for the intended parents if you begin the process after you turn 40. Since the quality and number of eggs and mobility, count, and quality of sperm decreases as you start aging even with surrogacy you may find it difficult to conceive a genetically linked baby.
If you have leftover embryos from previous fertility treatment they may be good enough and qualitative to help you achieve successful conception with your surrogate. However, if you are considering creating embryos with fresh gamete materials then your embryologist would suggest you consider donors.
If the male partner still has qualitative sperm counts then you can consider an egg donor where at least one partner can share a biological link with the baby. If both partners are infertile and have poor gamete materials, you will have to choose donated embryos.
Though, donated embryos may not give you the perk of conceiving a biologically linked child. For alot of intended parents sharing a genetic link with the baby is not their top priority. Surrogacy gives them a sense of control and has high success rates as well.
Additional options to successfully conceive post-45
If sharing a biological link with the baby is one of your main concerns then you can consider preserving your gamete materials beforehand and conceive a baby via gestational surrogacy whenever you are ready to embark on the journey of parenthood.
With freezing eggs and embryos, you can conceive a baby with qualitative embryos without facing the barriers of surrogacy age limit in terms of the quality of gamete materials.
If you have healthy ovaries, then you can consider freezing your eggs at a younger age and conceiving a baby at an older age whenever you are ready. This process usually stops the aging of your eggs.
To begin with the egg-freezing procedure, the fertility expert would prescribe a few fertility medications to the intended mother to kick-start the procedure of stimulating multiple eggs. Furthermore, a specialist would use a needle to collect the healthiest egg from your ovary and then flash-freeze them in nitrogen.
Frozen eggs can be implanted with fresh or frozen sperm. Then an IVF specialist would create embryos and transfer them into the uterus of a surrogate mother. Before this process, the surrogate will have to take a few medicines to mimic the changes that occur in a sudden pregnancy.
However, egg freezing requires prior planning, and IVF and reproductive specialists recommend women explore this option by she is 32. Since by this age, she will have plenty of frozen healthy eggs for future use.
Another viable option for intended fathers is freezing their sperm. You can either provide your semen specimen or an IVF specialist would extract your sperm by testes by using a needle. Then, the specialists would analyze the semen to ensure they freeze the qualitative and healthiest sperm.
Your sperm can split into multiple vials or place into different storage tanks, so even if one of the sperm fails to freeze you would still have adequate options.
Why surrogacy is good for older intended parents?
Intended parents often have concerns like why should we consider surrogacy or why surrogacy is good for people in our age range. We understand your doubts since other fertility or reproductive methods has restrictions with age due to the declining quality of gamete materials and increased infertility issues after 40.
Whether you are 35, 45, or 50, you can still conceive a healthy infant by using someone else’s fetus i.e. a surrogate mother who agrees to carry a child to term for you. Seeing its success rates and multiple happy surrogacy stories, you can consider the procedure as your ideal program.
However, one of the major benefits of conceiving via gestational surrogacy is it provides equal legal protection to both parties. Before beginning with the procedure, both parties need to sign a surrogacy contract which entails surrogacy essential factors, the surrogate’s compensation, legal parental rights, and roles and responsibilities of both parties during and after the surrogacy journey.
In addition, to answer your query – why surrogacy is good option? The process of surrogacy helps gay couples and hopeful singles to conceive a healthy child. So if you have your or donor’s qualitative gamete material, you can conceive an infant at any given age.
Am I too old to become a parent? Whether it is still safe to conceive a baby via gestational surrogacy? These are the common question every old intended parent have in their mind. With complete family planning and the guidance of a fertility expert or surrogacy professional, you can conceive even in the later stage of your life.
It is never too late to fulfill your dreams, especially when you have a viable family-building alternative. If you have any further questions related to surrogacy and its proceedings you can visit our website or book our free consultation call.