While not always recommended, in vitro fertilization (IVF) can be performed on women age 40 and older. Some patients in their 40s achieve pregnancy and live birth thanks to IVF when natural conception was no longer an option. That said, undergoing IVF after your 30s can be quite risky. The chances of successful pregnancy and live birth tend to be lower at age 40 and beyond.
We always let our Lubbock, TX patients know about the risks of IVF and other fertility treatments before we initiate a cycle. Dr. Janelle Dorsett and her team would like to consider some of the issues with IVF after age 40. You can learn more about this during a consultation at The Centre for Reproductive Medicine.
Success Rates for IVF Based on Age
The American Pregnancy Association has some telling numbers about the ways a woman’s age impacts fertility and IVF success. The success rates for IVF treatment are as follows:
- Women younger than 35 - 41 to 43 percent
- Women age 35 to 37 - 33 to 36 percent
- Women age 38 to 40 - 23 to 27 percent
- Women older than 40 - 13 to 18 percent
As you can see, the chances of successful IVF treatment decline from the mid-30s onward, which is why we may dissuade some patients older than 40 who are interested in IVF.
Risks of IVF After Age 40
During the IVF consultation process at our Lubbock practice, we’ll note the following complications associated with the procedure on patients of advanced age:
- Failed IVF Cycles - As women get older, failed IVF cycles are more likely. You can see evidence of that from the statistics noted above.
- Pregnancy Loss - Miscarriage is a real issue as women get older. A 2018 article in Medical News Today noted that women ages 35 to 45 have a up to a 35 percent chance of pregnancy loss; that number jumps to 50 percent at age 45 and older.
- Premature Birth - Premature childbirth is also an important concern to consider. A Reuters piece from 2018 noted that women over 40 had a much higher risk of premature birth than younger age groups. Around 7.8 percent of children born to mothers age 40 and older were premature.
- Birth Defects - Birth defects are typically higher among women older than 40, with increases rated for genetic conditions and chromosomal disorders.
- Health Issues for the Mother - The health of a mother must also be considered given the stress that pregnancy and childbirth put on the body.
Men Over 40 Can Also Impact IVF Success
We’ve discussed the impact of a woman’s age on fertility, but advanced age in men can similarly impact IVF success.
While not as pronounced as it is in women, men tend to become less fertile as they age. Sperm quantity and sperm quality can decline with time, which can contribute to potential birth defects and other issues affecting a child’s health and development. Having children at a younger age or using donor sperm from a younger donor is beneficial for people trying to build a family through IVF.
Alternatives to IVF After Age 40
If IVF is not an ideal option for you, our Lubbock fertility specialists may recommend other procedures that can help you have a child. A gestational carrier may be the most ideal option to consider, which involves a younger woman who can carry your fertilized egg to term in her body. We can discuss this and other options in more detail during your visit.
Learn More About Fertility Treatment Options
To learn more about your options for overcoming infertility and which one may be right for you, be sure to contact a skilled IVF doctor and fertility specialist. The team at The Centre for Reproductive Medicine can be reached by phone at (806) 788-1212.