Can You Get Pregnant After Menopause?
Menopause is defined as not having a menstrual period for 12 months. For many people, menopause is the natural time when ovulation and menstruation stop.
Ovulation is the release of eggs from the ovaries. Ovulation is necessary to conceive because the egg needs to be fertilized by sperm to create an embryo. In most cases, it is not possible to get pregnant after menopause without medical treatment.
This article explains the possibility of getting pregnant after menopause, the role of fertility treatments, and the effects of pregnancy after menopause on your health.
Some people can get pregnant after menopause with fertility treatment, or assisted reproductive technology (ART).
There are a few reports of people becoming pregnant after menopause without ART. In a
Read on for more information about the chances of pregnancy at different stages of menopause.
The transition through menopause has several stages: perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause. Each stage may have different chances of pregnancy.
This can include not having a period for months, which may lead you to believe menopause has started. However, some people’s periods start again. This can happen for years.
As your menstrual cycle becomes less consistent, knowing whether you are ovulating can be difficult. If you are wanting to become pregnant, tracking symptoms of ovulation and taking at-home ovulation tests could be helpful.
If you don’t want to become pregnant, you need to use contraception.
Menopause is the time without a menstrual period for 12 months. As the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists notes, menopause marks the end of the reproductive years.
Once menopause has started, your hormones will no longer be at the levels needed to ovulate or conceive. This means you may not get pregnant without medical treatment. On average, menopause starts around age 51 years.
Postmenopause occurs after menopause has ended. At this stage, you also cannot get pregnant without medical treatment.
Read more about the stages of menopause.
In vitro fertilization (IVF) involves fertilizing an egg with sperm in a laboratory before implanting it into the uterus. In some cases, IVF
The eggs you produce in postmenopause
With IVF, an egg is fertilized with sperm to create an embryo and then implanted into the uterus. During menopause, you may need hormone therapy to prepare your body for implantation and to support the pregnancy.
IVF can require several treatments. Not all procedures may be covered by insurance.
If you want to get pregnant after menopause, talk with your OB-GYN or a fertility doctor.
Learn more about IVF, including its procedure, chances, and risks.
Chances of pregnancy with IVF
IVF may not work for everyone. The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) estimates that in 2021, the chances of IVF leading to a live birth per intended egg retrieval were:
- 44.5% for people under age 35
- 32.4% for people ages 35–37
- 20.2% for people ages 38–40
- 9.6% for people ages 41–42
- 2.9% for people over the age of 42
IVF success rates may be improved when using donor eggs because the donors are often younger.
The best way to increase your chances of pregnancy is to follow your medical team’s recommendations for care.
If you want to get pregnant while still ovulating and without medical treatment, tracking your ovulation and having intercourse around this time would be helpful.
To increase the chance of pregnancy or successful IVF treatment, consider:
If you are planning to get pregnant with a partner’s sperm, it may help for them to also follow these steps.
Pregnancy after age 35 may affect your health and the health of the fetus. Complications could include:
- miscarriage or stillbirth, which may be more likely after age 35
- preeclampsia, which may be more likely after age 40
- chromosome abnormalities in the fetus, such as Down syndrome, Patau syndrome, or Edwards syndrome
- multiple pregnancy, such as with twins, which can increase the chances of:
- preterm birth and low birth weight for the fetus
IVF could also result in multiple pregnancies and increase health risks, such as ectopic pregnancy.
Not everyone will experience these risks, but a healthcare professional can address your questions or concerns.
You can also ask about prenatal screening and diagnostic testing, including genetic tests. These tests can estimate the risk of your pregnancy being affected by specific complications or genetic conditions.
It is possible to get pregnant after menopause with the help of medical fertility treatments such as IVF. Still, IVF may not work for everyone.
You may also be able to become pregnant without medical treatment during perimenopause if you are still ovulating.
Talk with a doctor if you are hoping to get pregnant after menopause.