Achieving a pregnancy later in life
When Terrie was 53, she decided she wanted to have a baby, but she knew that she would need some help achieving her dream. She scheduled appointments with three fertility centers, starting with a visit to Fady Sharara MD at our Virginia fertility center. “He was my first appointment,” she says, “and he ended up being my only appointment because we just clicked.”
Terrie is not alone in pursuing pregnancy later in life. The CDC has reported a steady increase since 2000 in the age of women giving birth to their first child. By 2014, over 9.1% of women in the United States were giving birth to their first child after their 35th birthday.
The challenges in achieving a pregnancy later in life
When Terrie came to Dr. Sharara, he first ran tests to see if her body could support a healthy pregnancy later in life. Fortunately, she maintains a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet and staying in shape. She was told she had the body of a 30- to 40-year old, and was a good candidate for reproductive assistance.
Because Terrie was over 40, she used both an egg donor and a sperm donor to create embryos for an IVF cycle. She selected a sperm donor through an outside agency and worked with the in-house program at our Virginia fertility center to select an egg donor. Terrie says, “They’ll walk you through each potential donor, talk to you and let you look at the profiles. If you have any questions about the profiles, they’ll sit with you and give you answers.”
A Christmas miracle
During Terrie’s initial workup, Dr. Sharara discovered a polyp on the inside of her uterus. Because a healthy uterine environment is essential to a successful pregnancy later in life, Dr. Sharara recommended it be removed. He worked with Terrie’s OBGYN to ensure that her medical interventions were as affordable as possible under her insurance coverage.
The surgery was a success, and by September, Terrie was ready to move forward with IVF. Her cycle produced 11 optimal embryos that were waiting in frozen storage. But, as she prepared for embryo transfer, Dr. Sharara discovered several uterine fibroids that needed to be removed, which required another surgery and pushed her plans back several months.
Terrie was disappointed. “The longer I waited, the older I got, the riskier it got. I was a bit down about that.” But, she adds, “You have to listen to the doctor and to the experts to make sure that the environment is viable for you and the baby.” Terrie found consolation from Dr. Sharara and his staff. “They were great, and told me, ‘It’ll be okay, this is just another challenge we have to go through.’ Jessica, my nurse, was with me every step of the way and checked in with me after my surgery. They make you feel like part of the family.”
By December, Terrie had fully healed and was ready for embryo transfer. It worked. She is now 11 weeks into her pregnancy. “I got a Christmas miracle,” she says, “I would highly recommend the Virginia Center for Reproductive Medicine to anyone.”
Contact our Virginia fertility center to learn more about pregnancy later in life.