Menopause is a stage in a woman’s life where she does not get her menstrual cycles or periods anymore. To be precise, menopause is a full year after a woman’s periods have stopped. When the periods or menstrual cycles stop, it means her fertile period has come to an end. So, does this mean a woman cannot get pregnant after she attains menopause? Then how do women over the age of 50 get pregnant
When Do Women Attain Menopause?
In general, a woman may attain menopause between 45 - 50 years of age. When she does not get her periods for 12 months in a row, she reaches the menopause stage. Many women may attain menopause earlier than 45 years or later than 50 years too.
Before a woman attains menopause, she goes through the perimenopause stage. Her menstrual cycle may be irregular during this transition stage, which can roughly last about 2-5 years (between 40 - 45 years). The bleeding might get lighter and slowly decrease with time, leading to no periods and then menopause.
During perimenopause, a woman goes through severe hormonal fluctuation. A woman’s fertility starts decreasing once she enters her 30s and sharply declines when she goes through perimenopause. So, for a woman trying to get pregnant during this perimenopause stage, it can be quite tricky and difficult but not impossible.
When a woman is close to menopause, (when she is in perimenopause), the chances of getting pregnant decrease to as low as 10%. Apart from the dip in fertility levels, other hormonal changes such as low sex drive, irregular periods and changes in estrogen levels also make it difficult to conceive during this stage.
This does not mean a woman cannot get pregnant during this period. Perimenopause lasts for about 5 years and though chances are slim, a woman can get pregnant accidentally or with careful planning. However, the risks are also high in such pregnancies.
Once a woman crosses this stage and does not get her menstrual cycle for a minimum of 12 consecutive months, she crosses the perimenopause stage and enters menopause. Once in this stage, her estrogen and progesterone levels are too low for conception, thus making pregnancy through natural means impossible
So, can pregnancy happen after menopause? Is there any possibility of pregnancy after menopause? If you are looking for natural conception, the answer is no. Once a woman attains menopause, meaning she has not had her periods for a minimum of 12 consecutive months, her hormonal levels are not good enough to support a pregnancy. She does not ovulate or produce eggs for a sperm to fertilize.
After menopause pregnancy is possible through in-vitro fertilization. The woman can use fresh eggs from a donor or her eggs if she had frozen them in the past. The sperm can be her partner’s or a donor’s. If you are in your late 30s, yet to have a child but want to in the future,
it is a good idea to freeze a few of your eggs. If you reach menopause before getting pregnant, you can always use your eggs and go the IVF way.
IVF post-menopause success rate is high. However, the woman has to prepare her body for the pregnancy. A donor can only give the egg; the woman’s body has to make the right hormones at the right levels to sustain the pregnancy. Hence, you need to undergo hormone therapy before the IVF implantation and prepare your body for pregnancy after menopause.
Despite the high success rate of IVF pregnancy after menopause, it is not for everyone. It depends on various other factors such as your age, general health, financial constraints, and facilities accessible. You should also find a qualified doctor to do this procedure.
One of the first signs is a missed period. However, if you are trying to conceive after menopause, how will you know if and when you get pregnant successfully?
Apart from the missed periods, you will experience all the other regular pregnancy symptoms like swollen or tender breasts, constipation, nausea, and sensitivity toward certain foods or smells.
When you undergo an IVF implantation, your fertility doctor will have a follow-up appointment where they will check for successful implantation. In this test or scan, they will find out if the IVF was successful or not.
In case you have doubts before your check-up, you can always take a home pregnancy test and confirm. Apart from a home pregnancy test, your doctor will also ask you to take a blood test and might even perform a scan to confirm pregnancy.
Despite all the technological advancements and treatments, the risks increase with maternal age. even if you have undergone hormone therapy, there is a certain amount of risk of pregnancy after menopause. It can affect the pregnancy itself or the mother. The chances of a successful pregnancy start decreasing once a woman crosses 40 years of age.
Some of the possible complications a woman might face in pregnancy after menopause are:
Pregnancy after menopause is not common. When you find the right fertility specialist backed by a well-equipped facility, even after menopause, pregnancy is possible.
1. Can a woman get pregnant after menopause?
After menopause, a woman’s hormonal levels are too low to support natural conception. However, after menopause, pregnancy is possible via IVF. She can use donor eggs or her eggs if she had them frozen.
2. Can you get pregnant during menopause with no period?
Many consider menopause as the period where a woman’s periods become irregular and bleeding starts decreasing. Technically, this is perimenopause. During this time, even if a woman does not get her period, her body still has sufficient hormones for a successful pregnancy. So, she can get pregnant without a period during her perimenopause stage.
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