There have been multiple studies that have documented pregnancy outcomes for women over the age of 45 and 50.
In 2002, Paulson et al study reported outcomes for 77 women older than 50 with no chronic medical conditions. All of these women underwent embryo transfers conceived after in vitro fertilization with donor egg. There was an overall pregnancy rate of 45.5% and the live birth rate was 37.2%. Of the 45 live births, 31 were single babies, 12 were twins, and 2 were triplets, which can be more common when women undergo vitro fertilization. Of the single babies 68% of them were cesarean delivered and all of the twins and triplets were delivered by cesarean. As for medical conditions, mild-to-severe preeclampsia was noted in 35% of these women and gestation diabetes affected 20%.
Subsequently, another study documented by Callaway et al reported generally good outcomes in 77 women ages 45 and older. However, unlike the last study, 84% of the pregnancies were naturally conceived. There were 74 single babies, two sets of twins and one set of twins stillborn at 20 weeks. Medical complications were still an issue for these women, with 13% developing hypertensive disorders and 8% of women developing gestation diabetes. Also, the cesarean delivery rate was 49%, still high compared to 23% of women ages 20-29.
In 2010, Yogev et al reported outcomes in 177 women age 45 and older compared to younger mothers. It was reported that there was a 17% rate of gestational diabetes, 19.7% of hypertension, as well as an increased risk of C-section and preterm delivery before 34 weeks.
These studies show that it’s completely possible for women aged 45 and older to have successful conception and pregnancies, just like younger recipients. They are at an increased risk of certain complications, such as hypertension, gestational diabetes, cesarean deliveries and preterm birth. However, there doesn’t seem to be any medical reason for prohibiting women from attempting pregnancy based on their age.
Maternal Fetal Medicine blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace certified professional care. Medical conditions vary and change frequently. Please ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your condition to receive a proper diagnosis or risk analysis. Thank you!