How age affects IVF
During in vitro fertilization, the egg, and sperm fuse outside a woman’s body. Doctors observe the embryos received in the laboratory for a while, and then transfer the most viable embryos into the uterus. Successful completion of the procedure is the implantation of embryos into the mucous membrane of the uterus, their further development, and the onset of a long-awaited pregnancy.
A key factor that depends on the age of the woman is the quality of eggs. The ovarian reserve gets depleted with time. In addition, the body is affected by bad habits, toxins, stress, the environmental situation. Consequently, the younger the age, the more likely it is that the oocytes taken for fertilization will be healthy.
The age of the woman also affects the success of implantation of the fertilized egg in the endometrium. A better blood supply to the uterine cavity is seen in younger women. After the age of 35, its quality may be far from optimal for IVF. A history of abortions, gynecological surgeries and pathologies worsens the condition of the endometrium.
The hormonal background that changes with age affects the successful outcome not only in artificial fertilization, but also in natural fertilization. Possible consequences can be placental abnormalities, miscarriages, frozen pregnancies, premature births. That is why hormonal stimulation is used during the first trimester of pregnancy under the IVF protocol.
Statistically, conception because of artificial insemination is most probable in women under 35 – 40%. At the age of 38-39 years, the figure is 20-30%. After 40 years of age, the chances of IVF procedure success decrease to 3-12%. After the age of 50 only 1% of women manage to get pregnant this way.
These are average figures. Only a doctor treating the patient can give an accurate prognosis in every specific case based on performed tests.
IVF with a woman’s own oocytes
When this protocol is chosen, the patient’s own oocytes are used for artificial insemination. The patient’s own biological material is only suitable if the ovaries are preserved. Oocytes are taken either in a natural cycle (which is monitored by ultrasound) or after hormonal stimulation. If the partner is over 40 years old, fertilization is done by ICSI (sperm is injected under the shell of the egg with a thin needle).
Doctors usually offer this IVF method to women under the age of 43. At a later age, even if the menstrual cycle is maintained, the quality and number of oocytes is no longer optimal for obtaining viable embryos and maintaining a high chance of getting pregnant. But with even one healthy oocyte there is a possibility that fertilization, subsequent implantation and fixation in the uterine cavity will be successful.
The IVF protocol with your own eggs has several features:
- it is possible to perform the procedure every month;
- affordable cost, if the fertilization is not carried out under the oms program;
- low chances of conceiving twins or triplets;
- it is necessary to monitor very carefully the maturation of the follicle, since there is a chance to miss the moment of its maturation;
- the egg taken for conception may be of poor quality, which can lead to complications.
IVF with a donor embryo
This method can be prescribed at any age. The indication for using a donor embryo is infertility of both partners and their genetic incompatibility. The main condition is a good condition of the uterus and the endometrium, since the embryos in the case of a protocol with donor material take root worse than in other options.
There is no guaranteed result of in vitro fertilization at any age. There are cases where women over 40 have become pregnant after the first implantation of embryos in the uterus. At the same time, there are examples when under the age of 35 embryos did not take root even after several attempts. The result is influenced by a complex of factors, including good physical and mental health of the patient, the presence of chronic diseases, the condition of pelvic organs. In the absence of serious contraindications, it is possible to get pregnant using IVF at 50 years of age, and in exceptional cases even after 60 years.