Once menopause is officially diagnosed once you have gone 12 months without a period. This signifies that your ovaries have stopped working properly, meaning they are no longer releasing eggs. So, you cannot get pregnant naturally once you're in menopause.
Once you're postmenopausal, your hormone levels have changed enough that your ovaries won't release any more eggs. You can no longer get pregnant naturally.
Remember, menopause is defined as going at least 12 months without menstruating (meaning you have also gone 12 months without ovulating). You are less likely to get pregnant during perimenopause, but as long as it has not been 12 months since your last period, you may still be able to become pregnant.
Women do ovulate after menopause, but much less frequently than before. Fertility is, after all, dependent upon other factors besides ovulation; particularly the availability of a healthy, fertile partner and an active sex life.
Experts estimate that after 50 a woman's chances of getting pregnant the old-fashioned way fall to maybe 1%. And most women hit menopause and stop menstruating around 51.
The oldest verified mother to conceive naturally (listed currently as of 26 January 2017 in the Guinness Records) is Dawn Brooke (Guernsey); she conceived a son at the age of 59 years in 1997.
A woman's peak reproductive years are between the late teens and late 20s. By age 30, fertility (the ability to get pregnant) starts to decline. This decline becomes more rapid once you reach your mid-30s. By 45, fertility has declined so much that getting pregnant naturally is unlikely for most women.
When you're in postmenopause, your menstrual period has been gone for longer than 12 consecutive months. At this stage in life, your reproductive years are behind you and you're no longer ovulating (releasing eggs). The menopausal symptoms you've experienced in the past may become milder or go away completely.
As a woman grows older, the quality of her eggs tends to decline. The eggs may contain more chromosomal abnormalities, and women will no longer ovulate after menopause. This means that her ovaries will cease to release eggs.
After menopause, a woman no longer produces eggs and thus cannot become pregnant naturally. But although eggs succumb to this biological clock, pregnancy is still possible using a donor egg.
Getting Pregnant After 50
If you are trying to get pregnant after age 50, you will probably need some fertility help. While it's not impossible to become pregnant naturally at 50, it is very rare. Women are born with all of the eggs they will ever have.
Elevated estradiol triggers a luteinizing hormone (LH) surge in the pituitary gland, which signals the release of an oocyte from the ovary. The increasing estrogen levels also stimulate the endometrium to thicken in preparation for a fertilized embryo.
Usually beginning in the mid-40s, women enter a phase called perimenopause. During this phase, hormone levels and the menstrual cycle begin to change. Perimenopause may last from ages 45 to 55, although the timing varies from person to person.
If you use barrier methods with your partner, it's important to keep using condoms as less lubrication and thinning vaginal walls during menopause can make you more vulnerable to contracting a sexually transmitted infection.
All women can stop using contraception at the age of 55 as getting pregnant naturally after this is very rare. For safety reasons, women are advised to stop the combined pill at 50 and change to a progestogen-only pill or other method of contraception.
This signifies that your ovaries have stopped working properly, meaning they are no longer releasing eggs. So, you cannot get pregnant naturally once you're in menopause. While it is possible to get pregnant with the help of a donor egg and hormone supplements, it is not very common.
How many eggs does a woman have at 50? By the age of 50, you may still have around 1,000 eggs in your ovaries but they may not be healthy enough to start a pregnancy. Most women hit menopause between the ages of 45 and 55 years and that's when the reproductive activity completely shuts down.
By the time of girls' first menstrual period, they have an average of about 400,000 eggs. By the time of menopause, a woman may have fewer than 10,000 eggs. A small percentage of these eggs are lost through normal ovulation (the monthly cycle). Most eggs die off through a process called atresia.
Understanding the menopausal transition
The menopausal transition most often begins between ages 45 and 55. It usually lasts about seven years but can be as long as 14 years. The duration can depend on lifestyle factors such as smoking, age it begins, and race and ethnicity.
In your 40s, your menstrual periods may become longer or shorter, heavier or lighter, and more or less frequent, until eventually — on average, by age 51 — your ovaries stop releasing eggs, and you have no more periods. Surgery that removes the ovaries (oophorectomy).
Although men never stop producing sperm throughout their lives, sperm production does begin decreasing after age 35. Motility, volume and genetic quality of sperm of older men are less likely to achieve a successful pregnancy even in younger women.
“It's exceptionally rare for patients to get pregnant naturally at 50 or over 45. They make history,” said Dr. David Keefe, an obstetrician-gynecologist and fertility researcher at New York University. In part that's because around age 50, many women are entering menopause, after which egg harvesting isn't possible.
Women have “perfect” eggs below the age 30, but then egg quality starts to decline, which explains declining fertility. Over the age of 45, almost all the eggs which fertilise will create chromosomally abnormal embryos and therefore the chance of healthy, ongoing pregnancy is close to zero.
There's no maximum age that stops a man from being able to have a baby. You can become a father long into your older years, but there are risks.