Getting Through to Getting Pregnant at 45

I started this blog because of my book, a memoir about marrying someone from another world and then giving up my world (the US) for his (Japan), but I’ve noticed that the #1 search that leads people here involves pregnancy at or past 45.

The latter part of the book is where I tell the story of how long and hard I tried to get pregnant, and then how I somehow managed to get lucky enough to get pregnant naturally at 45–after 4+ years of infertility treatments (in a language I barely speak) and 2 pregnancy losses. But I wanted to write something quick and easy to access here, for all of you who come here searching right now for more information on the topic.

I remember sharply the sadness and disorientation of not being able to get (or stay) pregnant, the incredible endless-seeming limbo of it. So although of course I don’t know most of you personally, I’m keeping you all in my thoughts, and I hope you know how brave you must be to be wading through the pain of being not-pregnant.

I’ve written before about some of the myths of getting pregnant that my own pregnancy seemed to contradict. I’d be lying if I told you now that I know how I got pregnant naturally and delivered a healthy baby girl after I turned 46. And, no offense to anyone, but I’d guess that most people are lying–or at least are wrong–when they say they know the key to getting pregnant at an advanced age.

But I do know what helped me get through my years of infertility and losses, and get through it with my marriage enough intact that my husband and I were still happy to keep trying naturally after my 45th birthday. In the hopes that some of these things may help or at least give solace to some of you, here they are:

  1. The number one thing that helped the most was actually something my dear friend Jenna said, which was roughly something like, “The most important thing to remember is that you have basically no control. Your body is just going to do its thing, and there is not much you can do to affect that one way or the other.” When she first said it, it sounded harsh and maybe even a little hopeless, but then when I thought about it, I realized both how true and also how freeing it was to accept that, for the most part, there was very little I could do to control–and thus very little I could do to ruin my chances of–getting pregnant. This may not be true for people who have structural impediments to conceiving or carrying a baby, but for many of us, whether or not our body produces a healthy egg and releases it at the right time and nurtures it the right way is something we cannot master. As I’ve mentioned, my doctors had so many reasons why I couldn’t produce or release or implant an egg normally without shots, pills, weeks of medical preparation, or another woman’s eggs, but in the end, our child’s first little cells formed, released, and took hold all by themselves. I didn’t even know about it until our baby was 7 weeks past conception.
  2. I could never deal with the “positive thinking” movement–something else I write about a bit in my memoir.  First of all, unbridled optimism just isn’t my thing. But even more than that, it felt crushing to me to force myself to think happy thoughts about how an embryo was implanting or how I’d be pushing my baby in a carriage soon, and then every month to not get pregnant again. But I was able to find a resource that helped me combat negative thinking, which in turn helped keep me grounded in a space that balanced honesty with the tough odds I was facing, with solace and assurance that I was doing everything I could to stay healthy–and that I could feel good about that. I used podcasts by Belleruth Naparstek (especially the ones on fertility, anxiety, and general well-being). I liked these because they didn’t force false hope down my throat but enabled me to focus on staying healthy, but I think you could use anything meditative and it would help.
  3. Related to this, I did yoga almost daily. I’m not saying that helped me get pregnant physically–or emotionally, for that matter. Plenty of people do yoga and still don’t get pregnant, and arguments about doing certain kinds of exercise (or diets, or thinking regimens) in order to get pregnant are specious at best, I believe, and dishonest at worst. But the yoga helped keep me strong and as relaxed as possible (which of course wasn’t very relaxed at all, especially not during treatment), and when I turned 45 and started to try to accept that my odds of getting pregnant with my own eggs had statistically dwindled to zero, the yoga really helped provide solace while I mourned. It also left me feeling like I hadn’t completely lost 4+ years of my life to infertility, because one thing the experience had given me was the ability to do so many more yoga moves than I’d even been able to do before. That, of course, wasn’t nearly equal to the pain of thinking we’d never be able to meet our baby, but it was something I was still grateful for, and finding anything I could be grateful for, at that point, helped.
  4. Keeping my focus on the love in my marriage, and on how lucky I was to have found my husband–child or no–also really helped me. I’ve written about this in the past too, for the New York Times online, but even after I wrote that article, and even after my husband and I gave up trying medically, remembering my love for my husband enabled me to know that we would be OK, that I would be OK, even if we never got to meet our baby. This was hugely helpful especially as I started to mourn the idea of having a child, when I turned 45 and we stopped all medical treatments and I thought my chances were basically nil. And if I hadn’t been able to get through all this with our partnership intact, then essentially I would never have been able to have my baby girl, because we wouldn’t have still been trying naturally.

If I think of other things that helped me get through infertility, I’ll post them. In the meantime, I am wishing each and every person who reads this post the same good luck that somehow the universe delivered to me when I delivered my healthy baby girl at 4 months past my 46th birthday.

For more about trying to get pregnant, you can also see An Honest Take on How I Got Pregnant Naturally at 45 and On Delivering my First Child at 46, other blog posts I wrote in the hopes of supporting people slogging through infertility, although some of the content from these is reproduced in this post. Based on requests in the comment section of this blog and through email, I’ve started a new online group, New Mothers at 45 and Up, and I welcome you to join us there. Finally, if you’re still interested in my path to motherhood later in life, the story of how I met and fell in love with my husband and then went through years of IVF and finally got pregnant naturally, is in my book The Good Shufu

19 thoughts on “Getting Through to Getting Pregnant at 45

  1. Thank you a million times thank you for this. I’ve been digging and digging for a speck of hope for the last hour, since I got my period today because I think at this point hope and a miracle is all I have. I’m 45 and after a miscarriage last year we gave up, confused bcuz we though since I found out I was pregnant 3 days after I buried my grandmother that it was our gift of life after losing one that was so dear to me. 2 months ago on a “date night” my husband blurted out he still wanted to try, we both secretly had still been wanting to keep trying but didn’t want to put the other through it. We have a 9yr old son and I feel guilty for wanting another but giving up feels like, giving up , I cant. So this, that you wrote I’m going to hold on to, and the fact that my husband’s name is also Sean, I’ll take as a wink from the universe. So happy you have your little baby.


    1. Mayda, I’m so glad this post was meaningful to you! I’ll be keeping you and your DH in my thoughts and wishing you all the very best of luck! Thanks too for your lovely message. Keeping everything crossed for you!


  2. I got pregnant by accident at the age of 45 and gave birth to a beautiful, healthy girl a few weeks before my 46th birthday. Having had no periods for 2 years, we did not think that this was ever possible. There were 2 factors that I believe contributed to the conception. Firstly, I had to take high dose aspirin (300mg per day) for a neurological condition for a month, which I started about a fortnight before conception. Secondly, I had a Thai massage, during which the masseuse said I had “stressed ovaries” while she massaged my abdomen. She pressed so hard, I believe she must have released some eggs at the same time the aspirin was supplying blood to my uterus. It sounds ridiculous, but I believe this is how it happened.

    Good luck to all of you who are trying and I wish you every success.


  3. Hi, I am 45, I have had 2 healthy pregnancies before… 25 and 9 years ago. I have decided to try to get pregnant again since I married again and he is very excited with the idea. Can you please give me advice on what to start taking now to improve my chances of getting a healthy pregnancy/baby? Do you recommend any test to be done before conception?
    Thank you so much for your advice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Pilar. Congratulations on your new marriage! As I write above, I’m not sure exactly how I managed to get pregnant naturally @ 45, and I wasn’t taking anything special at the time.

      It sounds a little gross, but I did use the cervical fluid method to try to track my ovulation, as well as ovulation predictor kits, although the kits didn’t actually always help b/c I got false positives or negatives from them. The month I got pregnant (and many months before that, too), we had sex when I though my cervical fluid indicated that I was fertile. I learned about this from this book (, and there is more info about checking this body sign for ovulation here (;6;0;0).

      In any case, I’ll be wishing all the best for you and your sweetie!




  4. Hi Tracy,
    I’m in tears when reading your post.
    I felt so hopeless before stumbled at your post.

    All googled result told me only 1% chances to get pregnant naturally after 45years old.

    I just past my 46 birthday one and half month ago.
    I had 19 & 16 years kids from first marriage.

    My current hubby is 2 years younger than me, he is 44, into jogging and football regularly. He is actually so excited on the idea to get a baby. We had try since jan’18, three months ago. I felt so guilty and felt useless everytime when my period came.
    I’ll bring him the good news, will tell him it is not impossible to get pregnant naturally.

    Your sharing truly brought back my confident and encouraged me to never give up trying.

    I sincerely can’t thank you enough.

    Warmest Regards,
    Yu WX

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Yu,

      I’m so glad that what you’ve read here as provided some hope for you. My husband is younger than me too (by 5 years), so I’m hoping the older woman/younger man combination brings you the same good luck we had! If you are looking for more hope, there are some other statistics here about pregnancy and childbirth in older women. (Not sure if you’ve seen this post yet.)

      Please know that I’ll be keeping you in my thoughts and that you have someone out there pulling for you! With much respect for all I know you are going through,



  5. Thank you for this post. I’m 44, always wanted kids and had just decided it wasn’t happening. I got married at 41. I was completely fine with it, and we weren’t trying. We weren’t trying to prevent it either because my husband had a fertility test after our marriage (he had extensive chemotherapy in the past) and it came back extremely low. So to my absolute shock, now I’m 44 and pregnant for the first time. I thought it was early-ish menopause but the Ob assured me that there is a heartbeat even. It feels lonely so far, and I’m very worried all the time. And hopeful. And worried. And very tired. And really hopeful.


    1. Hi Mary. Huge congratulations on your pregnancy! I really understand the tornado of mixed emotions you must be feeling. The I found out I was pregnant at 45, I felt similarly. I also thought at first my symptoms were early menopause, and also saw a heartbeat when I went to get it checked out. The whole pregnancy felt surreal, but it turned out wonderfully, and I’m keeping everything crossed that yours will too. If it helps, I’ve started a Facebook group recently for new mothers 45 and over, and there are a few other women who are pregnant who are part of they group. The link is here: Please know that we’ll all be thinking of you, and please feel free to come back and update us. Keeping you and yours in my thoughts,



  6. To all those keep up hope. My grandmother naturally got pregnant at 47 years old and my great aunt her sister naturally got pregnant at 46yrs old. Back in those days there was no IVF.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s