As women age, the reproductive quality of their eggs begins to decline, making it increasingly difficult for them to get pregnant naturally without IVF or IVF using donor eggs. In general, while women in their 20s and 30s have many good quality eggs and few problems conceiving, women in their 40s and older may want to consult a doctor who specializes in fertility problems. Getting older also increases a woman’s chance of having a miscarriage.
In another article, I explore older women’s IVF success rates using egg donation.
In this article I review the the United States Center for Disease Control statistics and pregnancy success rates for women 45 years and older using IVF with their own eggs.
How do percentages of IVF cycles that result in pregnancies, live births, and singleton live births differ for women who are 40 or older?
- For women 44 and older, 3.3 percent of IVF cycles using their own eggs resulted in a live birth.
- A woman’s age is the most important factor affecting the chances of a live birth when her own eggs are used. Notice how all percentages dropped steadily with each 1‑year increase in age.
- Notice how the line for “live births” is higher than for “singleton (single child) live births”. That’s because live births include women who have multiples like twins, triplets, and quadruplets.
How does the risk for miscarriage differ among women of different ages?
- A woman’s age not only affects the chance for pregnancy when her own eggs are used, but also affects her risk for miscarriage.
- The percentage of IVF cycles that resulted in miscarriages began to increase among women in their mid‑to late 30s and continued to increase with age, reaching 30 percent at age 40 and almost 58 percent among women older than 44.
How does a woman’s age affect her chances of progressing through the various stages of IVF?
- A woman’s chance of progressing from the beginning of IVF to pregnancy and live
birth (using her own eggs) decreases at every stage of IVF as her age increases.
- As women get older, the likelihood of a successful response to ovarian stimulation and progression
to egg retrieval decreases.
- As women get older, cycles that have progressed to egg retrieval are slightly less likely to reach transfer.
- The percentage of cycles that progress from transfer to pregnancy also decreases as women get older.
- Overall, 1 percent of cycles started in 2008 among women older than 44 resulted in live births.