How to be super fertile even in your 40’s: the best kept secret
I want to help you change your fertility and improve your chances for a healthy conception NOW so that you can get pregnant even if you’re over 40. Here’s how…
Have you been told that your eggs are too old?
Did you hear from your doctor and/or fertility clinic that a donor egg is best?
Or have you been told any of those other awful (but commonly said) things because you’re trying to get pregnant and you’re over 40?
Well, I’m here to tell you that these things might not be 100% true for you – and that there is still hope for you.
When our wonderful patients come to us worried sick that they’ve reached the ‘end-of-fertility-cliff’ we tell them: don’t worry, there are a ton of things you can do to empower your fertility well into your thirties and beyond!
Here is the advice we give to all of our Advanced Maternal Age (AMA) patients so they can stop letting their age define their fertility and still feel super fertile well into their forties…
The truth about donor eggs…
Having children over 40 comes with its challenges.
It can become even more challenging when you walk into your OBGYN’s office and they see that you’re ‘older’, and immediately refer you to an IVF Clinic/ Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE).
Side note: As a Natural Fertility Specialist, I believe there are other steps to be taken before taking the route IVF (but it’s not usually what’s recommended by traditional doctors once they find out your age).
So… you follow their advice. You go to the clinic. And the clinic also sees that you’re over 40.
Without taking into account your hormone levels or your reproductive history, they’ll quickly suggest that you should use donor eggs in order to get pregnant.
Many women – once they’ve reached an advanced maternal age – are told they shouldn’t use their own eggs and that they’d have a better chance of pregnancy if they use a donor egg.
This medical advice is, of course, true – statistically speaking.
However, the problem lies with the speed of which you’re given this recommendation – it’s way too soon to rule out using your own eggs. Especially if you haven’t even attempted to improve your egg quality yet.
Are donor eggs really necessary for you if you’re AMA? Maybe.
Should you assume that donor eggs are the only way (or best way) for you to conceive because you already hit 40? Absolutely not.
So why are donor eggs recommended?
Donor eggs are recommended for two reasons: for the clinic’s IVF success rates with women over 40 and because clinic’s truly have the mindset that a donor egg is gonna be more successful and is the best choice for you.
It’s true: if you’re over 40 and using an egg from a woman in her 20’s, of course the egg is going to be a better quality. I’m not trying to say that IVF clinics are inaccurate or are lying to you – I just want you to understand why they give this recommendation and how it may not always necessarily the right choice for you (especially so quickly and so early).
Many of my patients are heartbroken to be told that they can’t use their own biological eggs.
The biggest hope killer is hearing a doctor say: you may never be able to conceive your own biological children.
But it doesn’t have to be this way! You can give your body the time and support it needs to improve egg quality so that donor eggs aren’t necessary.
Donor eggs are preferred for their more guaranteed IVF success rates.
Statistics are important to IVF clinics. Their success rates are how they sell their services.
This is something you probably looked at yourself before selecting your clinic – you want to know the percentage of women the clinic has helped to successfully get pregnant over 40.
When you look at this success rate it may be high – which is a good sign and makes you want to schedule an appointment. But it’s important to be aware that they can say they have a high success rate for women over 40 – but all (or most) of these could be from using a donor egg.
The IVF clinic’s success rates shouldn’t be a determining factor in why you get a donor egg.
Often this is why you’re being advised to use a donor egg; because it keeps success rates high and is the more common protocol – but it’s not every IVF clinic and many doctors will be open to a conversation about using your own eggs if that’s what you want to do.
If you’ve already tried many things and had multiple attempts at IVF then maybe the donor option is the right choice.
But it’s not for everybody. Your fertility is in your control and your hands. There are a lot of things you can do to positively influence your body changes you can make where your fertility over 40 is even better than it was before.
Now I ask you to take the thoughts of donor eggs out of your head and put them to one side for now. I’m about to give you all the information you need to improve your egg quality and have a better uterine environment over 40 (so that you won’t need donor eggs)…
‘Egg quality’ is how we define the state of your eggs: whether they are genetically ‘normal’ or ‘abnormal’. Egg quality is fundamental to your fertility at any age – but it becomes even more so as you age.
Poor egg quality is often linked to advanced maternal age (AMA).
When you age, cellular health degrades and the DNA inside your egg naturally begins to decline and can make it harder for you to get pregnant.
Supporting your egg quality is essential right now. And you can do that with something I call ‘Reproductive Anti-Aging’. I talk all about this (and improving egg quality) in my free masterclass that you can join by clicking here.
There’s A LOT of things you can do at home to improve your egg quality. It’s all about what you’re putting into your body – both with food and supplements – that can really help to enhance your fertility.
We need to prioritise good clean foods (meaning bye-bye processed foods) and high quality supplements. This is important because a healthy egg = a healthy embryo, clean plantation and a full-term pregnancy.
Sometimes if egg quality is not great it can increase the risk of chromosomal issues and cause issues for pregnancy so we want to make sure we’re going into pregnancy with everything as healthy as possible.
Improving egg quality can also take time; 90-180 days depending on your lifestyle, environment, personal health situation etc. Contradictory to the time-pressure of getting older, you need to give yourself time to supercharge your fertility because you’re older.
So one of the most important things you need to remember whilst working on your egg-quality is to banish any thoughts that time is running out. Instead see the time as an opportunity to make seriously amazing changes. Your glass is half full – not empty. This is not a time crunch situation; it’s a healthy, empowered journey towards motherhood.
My key advice here: test, don’t guess. Don’t guess at what you need to do to get better. Testing gets super important as we get older – we need a clear picture and understanding of any imbalances so we can address them.
Here’s what I recommend to all of my AMA patients;
You need a full hormone panel that’s been updated in the last 6 months. These tests should have been done on day 2,3 or 4 of your cycle.
You should also check your FSH and LH levels and make sure they’re where we want them to be and working together.
Other relevant hormone tests include; oestradiol, progesterone, testosterone.
I also like to check Vitamin D levels, TSH for your thyroid function and your AMH levels to get an idea of your ovarian reserve.
If you’re not able to order these tests through OBGYN, if you’re worried you’re not going to get their approval or you just want to take control, I recommend ordering home hormone testing kits from Let’s Get Checked.
I’m very familiar with the quality of their testing kits and often order them for my patients. And they’re offering an amazing 20% discount to those of you in my community right now (despite already being much cheaper than traditional clinic).
If you want to order hormone test kits make sure to enter the discount code: drmarc20 at the checkout. Click here to go to their website.
Depending on your situation you may also need to have your HSG – fallopian tubes checked but this is something you should discuss with your OB as it can be pricey.
I also recommend having an ultrasound of uterus / ovaries and this should be done in most fertility evaluations.
Side note: meanwhile, make sure your man has also gone for a semen analysis. It takes two to tango and he needs to also be making sure he’s done all he can to boost his fertility too.
I often have patients ask me why this is important. They come to me looking for advice about their fertility – not their digestive system. Aren’t they 2 totally separate systems?
I have to remind them: the entire body is connected.
Every system is connected to and affecting the other. It doesn’t help to isolate one part from another; we cannot put on blinders when seeing a specialist and ignore all other areas of our health. For true healing, all areas must be linked and understood – and root causes must be addressed.
I once had a patient who was seeing so many different specialists for different reasons. They were all focusing on their different specific areas but no one was talking to each other – meaning that while one thing was being fixed another was falling out of balance.
Every system (not just reproductive) influences your overall hormones. It’s not all that uncommon for a bad digestive system – where your gut biome is off and not in balance- to cause an imbalance in your hormones. It can lead to low progesterone and estrogen dominance – two very big problems for your fertility.
If you’re experiencing severe digestive issues, the last thing your body wants to do is reproduce; it wants to heal. Therefore, addressing digestive issues is just as important as tackling fertility issues when you’re trying to get pregnant.
Are you aware of how important your adrenal health is for your fertility? Your adrenal glands are a part of your endocrine system and supporting adrenal health is essential for hormonal balance.
You may have heard of Adrenal Fatigue or Adrenal Dysfunction – I personally don’t like to call it fatigue but both terms mean the same thing. Adrenal glands are important to regulate stress response – if there is a disruption to this or the adrenal glands become overworked the body falls into a constant state of stress.
I talk about Stress and how it impacts fertility A LOT. Even if your stress feels like it is in the past, it could still be affecting your fertility and endocrine system.
Conclusion: Stress management is super important when you’re trying to conceive. If you’re body is stressed and not producing essential hormones, everything falls out of balance and makes it that much harder for you to get pregnant.
Sleep is fundamental for hormone regulation. Sleep is an important (and often missing) piece of the fertility puzzle.
It is super common for us humans to choose to sacrifice or fail to prioritize sleep for a number of reasons – all of the time! But, if you’re trying to get pregnant over 40 then it’s time to move good quality sleep at a decent hour up the priority list.
This means falling asleep at a good time of night that follows your body’s natural circadian rhythm. Going to bed earlier rather than later will have positive impacts on both your physical and mental health.
Do a little experiment. Keep a journal and compare the difference in your quality of sleep if you sleep earlier or if you sleep later. There will be a big change in how you feel after falling asleep at 9pm in comparison to falling asleep at midnight or later.
Sleep is one of my main hacks to reproductive anti-aging.
Sleep allows the body to rejuvenate, rest and recharge. While we sleep our body heals and recovers on a cellular level.
The hormone responsible for your sleep pattern is Melatonin. Your body begins to produce melatonin when the sun goes down and levels rise over the course of the evening.
If we prolong our bed time, then we miss out on the peak melatonin level and that makes it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.
There are even some studies that are showing that sleep can support egg quality – so it couldn’t be more important for you to prioritize your Z’s right now.
Nutrition is a BIG topic for me – and one I talk about often because I believe that nutrition is such an important factor in your fertility and reproductive health.
If you’re over 40 and trying to get pregnant then getting enough good quality food and avoiding sugar, processed sugar and alcohol is essential.
Another fertility anti-aging hack of mine is to also get my patients to do a huge detox.
DETOX YOUR LIFE
When I work with AMA patients, I advise them on how they can detox their home from toxic products and I encourage them to clean house regularly. A place can look clean, but we pick up so much dirt and bacteria during the day and bring it home with us – that’s why in our house we always take our shoes off at the door.
I also recommend getting rid of plastic. Plastic use for cooking is a big no-no: don’t use it.
Try and drink clean water from a filter as much as possible. Our tap water is contaminated by all sorts of junk – it may seem like a small, everyday and normalized thing but all of these small things when changed for the better make a huge, positive impact on your fertility..
Also be wary when you buy new furniture or a new car.
You know that ‘new smell’ that we like? It’s actually not good for us.
The ‘new-smell’ happens because of something called off-gassing. It’s the release of chemicals that were used to make the products into the environment and that you’re now exposed to.
If you need something, it’s both good for you (and the environment) to buy already used so that off-gassing has already happened. If you do need to buy new, let it air out and breathe before putting it in an enclosed environment – toxic products can affect the endocrine system and throw off your hormonal balance.
One of the big topics of lifestyle I discuss with my female fertility patients is exercise.
Did you know that 3-4 hours vigorous exercise can decrease your fertility by 22-30% depending on your BMI?
If you regularly do intense workouts like crossfit, then you could be potentially decreasing your fertility. It seems crazy because we know how important exercise is for our bodies – we can’t imagine that it’s actually doing us more harm than good.
For my AMA patients trying to conceive, I recommend moderate exercise like walking regularly. This is especially beneficial if you can combine it with time outdoors in nature. Walking 4 or 5 times a week can increase your by 30-50% – look at that difference!
For men, exercise works a little bit differently. More sperm are created the more he exercises – so exercise can be massively beneficial for him.
It’s obvious but it has to be said: smoking is a big NO NO. Smoking decreases fertility by 60% and is harmful to you and your potential baby. It’s time to ditch the cigarettes and spend your money on healthier habits.
Caffeine can lower your fertility by 70%. (Not coffee, caffeine). If you’re guilty of drinking sugar loaded energy drinks that also has to be stopped.
Lifestyle is one of the 12-key areas assessed in my Fertility Balance Wheel. If you’re not sure if your lifestyle choices are working for your fertility goals you should get your fertility score by clicking here.
Fertility Anti-Aging: the bulletproof method to be super fertility over 35
Ready to put these tips into action? Join my free live-training where I talk about all of these topics and give you specific advice on how you can start introducing them into your fertility plan.
Ps. Don’t forget it takes 2 to tango. All of these recommendations are great for improving both male and female fertility. Get your husband on board doing the same thing and making the same positive changes.