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Having a baby in your 40s isn’t so uncommon anymore, but there are still risks

Posted at 2:54 PM, Mar 28, 2019

Megan and Fadil Lee's love story started when the two were freshmen in college, and it may have ended there had Fadil not sent Megan a Facebook message 25 years later.

“I was like, OK, is he single or married?” Megan recalls.

After dating for a year and a half, the two married, and Fadil wanted to be a first-time father. Megan was on board, despite being 45 years old and already having two adult kids.

“Let's face it; we're all living longer, you know,” Megan says. “And I don't think that age should be an inhibitor for you if you're in good health and you're in good shape. I think that those options should be available to you.”

Dr. Paul Magarelli, who specializes in fertility for older women, agrees.

“Now that we're living to 80, 90 and 100, the idea of a baby at 50 really is not that crazy,” he says.

Dr. Magarelli is helping the couple conceive through IVF.

“The uterus doesn't age; it’s a muscle. So, they've done successful IVF and women with donor egg up to age 74 and still got healthy babies,” Dr. Magarelli says.

Megan is planning to use her own eggs, but the reality is most older women use frozen or donor eggs.

“Once you reach the age of 44 and above the number of eggs that are available to make a baby are preciously few, so most families at some point will use donor eggs,” Dr. Magarelli says.

There are significant risks for both mother and baby, including gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced hypertension, as well as pregnancy loss. Babies also have a higher risk of chromosome abnormalities, such as Down syndrome.

Megan and Fadil say they are aware of the risks and are being proactive.

“We are going to do genetic testing on the embryos because of our age,” Megan says. “So, we want to make sure that all the chromosomes are supposed to be there are there in full and complete.”

These come along with a hefty price tag.

Standard IVF treatments can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000. Paying out of pocket for the procedure, the couple hopes everything goes right on their first try.

“We both have a very strong faith, and so if stuff doesn't work out, then we're going to look at that as a sign from God that we're just not supposed to be parents at this stage in our life,” she says.