How Age Affects Your Adoption Chances

Since I’m over 40 now, my age not only factors into making it harder to adopt internationally, but makes it more difficult to get pregnant if adoption does not work out. The risks of something going wrong in your pregnancy, including genetic disorders and miscarriage, rise as you age. I get it! After the age of 35, you are considered to be “advanced maternal age” and your pregnancy is categorized “high risk.” Mine was when I gave birth to Sam almost six years ago.

Once you’re 40 +, the major genetic risk is Down’s syndrome, and there are increased risks of gestational diabetes, preclampsia, and cesarean section. What’s more, research shows that your chances of having a low-birth weight baby or premature one (less than 5 1/2 pounds) also increases.

So how does getting older affect your odds of adoption? Quite a bit, actually.

Age greatly affects your ability to adopt, as I am slowly finding out. Some countries will not even allow applications for potential families if both parents are over 40 (which we are).

And some other countries, such as Haiti, will not allow your adoption application if you are over 45 and also have biological children of your own (we have son Sam, 5).

While that dampens my personal take on adoption, there is great news afoot for older parents: In the year 2000, the rate of birth among women 35 to 39 years old was up 30 percent from 1990. In women ages 40 to 45, the increase was 47 percent, and for those ages 45 to 49, the rate of getting pregnant was an astounding 190 percent higher.

So if more women over 40 are getting pregnant, I hope I can extrapolate to say that many more parents will soon be able to go through the international adoption process too! You have to hold onto hope when you’re considering adoption, there are so many things that can go wrong…

Tell me what went right on your adoption journey, especially if you’re 40+.

Add a Comment
Back To The Adoption Diaries, by Nicole Dorsey-Straff
  1. by Kathy

    On November 22, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    We are in our 40s and have had TREMENDOUS SUCCESS with county foster carechildren that we got at birth – 18mos. 2 boys (now 4&5) and 1 girl (now 1yr) and we are done!

  2. by Dawnmarie

    On January 18, 2012 at 7:40 am

    I’m 43 and we’re having no issues with domestic adoption. It’s not really any more expensive than ivf with a donor egg and it’s not longer or more expensive than international anymore.

    We’ve been picked to adopt a baby being born in less than a month after working on adoption plans for less than 3 months.

    It’s fine if you prefer international adoption, but don’t discount the opportunities at home as well. There are infants being born here that are not in foster care that need homes.

  3. by N. Caroline

    On January 27, 2012 at 8:00 am

    My husband and I adopted our first child, at age 12 months, internationally (China) when I was 39 and he was 65. Our second daughter came home to us at age six months from Vietman when I was forty-two and he was 69. Our girls are now 12 and 16, and my husband is 81 and still healthy and going strong, and thrilled everyday to be father to our darling girls! I am 54 and homeschooling the girls, and this is the happiest time of our lives.

  4. by Joanne K

    On April 16, 2012 at 8:46 am

    My husband and I adopted twice over the age of 40. Both of our girls came via the county adoptions and had been safe surrender babies. They are 3 years apart and are now 6 and 9. Best experience ever and we did not have to pay anything. County took care of everything including attorney fees.