IVF Over 40: Challenges and Success Rates

As couples delay parenthood for various reasons, including career advancements, financial stability, or finding the right partner later in life, there has been an increased demand for IVF treatments among individuals over 40.

However, the prospect of IVF in this age group brings its own set of challenges and considerations. Let’s explore the reality of navigating IVF over 40, examining the challenges, and understanding the success rates.

Understanding Age and Fertility

Female fertility naturally declines with age, primarily due to a decrease in the quantity and quality of eggs in the ovaries. Women are born with all the eggs they’ll ever have, and this number declines over time. By the age of 40, the decline accelerates, and the eggs that remain are often less capable of resulting in healthy pregnancies.

What are the Challenges in IVF Over 40?

  1. Lower Ovarian Reserve:

At 40 and beyond, women have a lower ovarian reserve, meaning there are fewer eggs available. This limited pool often results in fewer eggs being retrieved during an IVF cycle, impacting the number of embryos that can be created.

  1. Decreased Egg Quality:

As women age, the quality of their eggs tends to decline. Poor egg quality can lead to challenges in fertilization and early embryo development, and it increases the likelihood of chromosomal abnormalities, which might result in miscarriage or failed implantation.

  1. Higher Miscarriage Rates:

Women over 40 experience higher miscarriage rates due to the increased incidence of chromosomal abnormalities in their eggs.

What is the Success Rates of IVF Over 40?

While age presents significant challenges, successful pregnancies through IVF are indeed possible for women over 40. However, the success rates are lower compared to younger counterparts:

  • 40-42 years old: Women in this age group might experience a success rate of around 15-20% per IVF cycle.
  • 43-44 years old: Success rates may drop to approximately 5-10% per cycle.
  • Over 45: The probability of success further declines, often to 1-5% per cycle.

 

These rates can vary significantly between individuals, as factors like overall health, lifestyle, and the presence of fertility-related medical conditions also play roles in determining the success of IVF.

What are the Options to Increase Success Rates?

  1. Donor Eggs:
  • Many women over 42-43 opt for using donor eggs to increase the likelihood of IVF success. Eggs from younger donors offer higher quality and are more likely to lead to successful pregnancies and healthy births.
  1. Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT):

This process involves screening embryos for chromosomal abnormalities before implantation. PGT can improve the chances of selecting healthy embryos, thereby increasing the likelihood of a successful pregnancy.

  1. Multiple IVF Cycles:

Undergoing multiple IVF cycles can increase the cumulative success rate over time, as it offers more opportunities for successful implantation and pregnancy.

  1. Intraovarian PRP Therapy

This therapy can be tried in cases with low egg reserve. But only limited studies and data to prove effectiveness of this therapy.

Conclusion

IVF over 40 is indeed challenging, but hope and options are available for those wishing to become parents. Understanding the obstacles, managing expectations, and exploring various paths to parenthood, including the use of donor eggs, can empower and guide couples during their fertility journey.

It’s essential for individuals and couples over 40 to engage in open, honest discussions with their fertility specialists, addressing their unique circumstances, concerns, and hopes. By doing so, they can create a tailored approach to fertility treatment that aligns with their dreams of building or expanding their family. With resilience, knowledge, and support, many over 40 can and do achieve the joy of parenthood through IVF.

To know more about IVF over the age 40, you can seek help from Fertility Specialist 

Dr Ila Gupta 

(Director & Sr. Consultant at Ferticity IVF & Fertility Clinics). 

Ilaguptaivf.com