Pathways to parenthood when you're 40+

Gaia Team
A team of people deeply invested in fertility science and technology
In this guide

There’s no one way to build a family — and no age limit to become a parent. Many people have decided to become parents later in life, when they’re more financially stable and feel emotionally ready to take on the responsibilities of parenthood.

Depending on your situation, some fertility treatments can give you better outcomes over others. But, to be candid, the chances of success vary depending on the age of the egg and embryo being used. Sperm health also decreases as a male partner ages.  

Below are the recommendations from our medical advisor, Dr. Rehan from The Portland Hospital, London, on the potential routes to parenthood if you are over the age of 40. While there are many options to start a family, your fertility doctor will be the best person to recommend the one(s) best suited to you.

Consult your obstetric physician

Before you decide on the best route for you, consult an obstetric physician that specialises in pregnancy in women over 40. They will be able to give you a recommendation based on your personal circumstances and health.

IVF with donor eggs

IVF with donor eggs is proven to increase IVF success rates. Based on HFEA data from 2018, IVF patients over the age of 44 had a birth rate of 27% using donor eggs, compared to 4% using their own eggs. You can source donor eggs from an egg bank or an altruistic donor. After you select the right eggs for you, one will be fertilised with sperm in a laboratory to create an embryo. If the embryo created is healthy, it can be transferred to a woman’s womb to carry the pregnancy.

There are important considerations if you use donor eggs in the UK: once your child turns 18, they have the right to know who their egg donor was. If you choose to go through IVF treatment abroad, the egg donation can be completely anonymous.

Read more about egg donor IVF.

Read more about completing IVF treatment abroad.


In a surrogate pregnancy, another woman carries and gives birth to your child. Depending on your situation, you can use your own eggs, donor eggs from a bank, or the surrogate’s eggs.

Surrogacy success rates depend on the surrogate’s ability to get pregnant, age of the eggs being used, success of the treatment (IUI, ICSI, or IVF) and the quality of the sperm. Age of the egg is the most important factor in determining the success.

It is important to note that surrogacy is expensive: you’ll need to cover your surrogate’s time and medical care.


Adopting a child from a reputable agency is an option for parents-to-be of all ages. You can connect with an agency through your local council or a voluntary adoption agency. You and other potential adoptive parents will have to go through pre-screening, including financial and lifestyle checks, before being approved to adopt children. The approval process typically takes 6 months, depending on the agency you work with.


We hope that this brief overview of options has been helpful. No matter which path you decide to take, know that there are many ways to become a parent. If you have any questions about specific treatment options, reach out to your medical provider.

Written by
Gaia Team
The Gaia team is made up of people deeply invested in fertility science and technology. They work directly with medical experts to bring you accurate and actionable information to help people on their own IVF journeys. Many team members have gone through fertility treatment and understand just how personal, challenging, and rewarding the journey can be.

How can Gaia help?

A Gaia Plan is the most affordable way to start and protect your IVF.
Start your IVF with fixed costs that you only pay once you have a child.

How the Gaia plan works

Learn more about fertility

Join our community

So far I am very happy with Gaia
So far I am very happy with Gaia, I am about to have my first try of IVF with them, I have found them extremely helpful and all the staff I have delt with have been so kind and friendly. I would recommend using Gaia.


Published 2 Oct 2023
Gaia makes the world a happier place
Gaia are so friendly, welcoming and kind! We were so so excited to hear about Gaia when we attended a open evening at Bourn Hall Wickford. It is the most amazing gift that Gaia can give to a person/persons, they put fertility treatment...

Mrs Sarah Prince

Published 17 sep 2023
Gaia is my family too!!!
I haven't started my treatment yet but till this point I'm very happy with Gaia family. I don't have words to express my gratitude and I'm sure with their help I will have my baby soon. The communication have been excell...


Published 8 jul 2023
Reviews from:
We and selected partners, use cookies or similar technologies as specified in the cookie policy.

We’re on the way to the US!

Thank you for your interest in Gaia. While we aren’t available in the United States yet, we’re arriving later this year and can’t wait to meet you.

In the meantime, please join our waitlist to be the first to know about our stateside launch. We’ll be in touch soon.