As soon as it was announced that Janet Jackson is pregnant just two weeks shy of her 50th birthday, I was flooded with questions about how women well past age 40 can conceive.
Although it's common knowledge that age negatively affects female fertility, many women still don’t understand just when it is too late to get pregnant. And while advances in assisted reproductive technology have changed the landscape of reproduction for older women, it has also led to confusion about when having a baby is no longer possible and exactly what limitations in vitro fertilization, or IVF, can overcome.
I'm an OB/GYN, fertility specialist, and associate professor of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at USC School of Medicine. Here are the most common questions I get about being over 40 and trying to conceive—and what I tell my patients: