As women get older, they encounter more fertility problems. Women in their 40s and older have fewer high quality eggs, more problems conceiving children, and a higher risk of miscarriage during pregnancy.
Even with IVF (in vitro fertilization) the statistics can be depressing: For women 44 and older, about 3.3 percent of IVF cycles using their own eggs results in a live birth. That’s a very low success rate. Doing IVF with donor eggs dramatically increases an older woman’s chances of getting pregnant and carrying to term.
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 donor eggs.
Are older women undergoing IVF more likely to use donor eggs or embryos?
- IVF using donor eggs is much more common among older women than among younger
- Few women younger than age 40 used donor eggs; however, the percentage of cycles performed with donor eggs increased sharply starting at age 40.
- Among women older than age 48, for example, 90% of all IVF cycles used donor eggs.
Do percentages of transfers that result in live births differ by age for women who used IVF with donor eggs compared with women who used IVF with their own eggs?
- This chart compares percentages of transfers that resulted in live births for ART cycles using fresh embryos from donor eggs with those for ART cycles using a woman’s own eggs, among women of different ages.
- The likelihood of a fertilized egg implanting is related to the age of the woman who produced the egg.
- Since egg donors are typically in their 20s or early 30s, the percentage of transfers that resulted in live births for cycles using embryos from donor eggs remained consistently high at above 50% for most patients aged 24 or older.
What is the success rate for IVF using donor eggs?
- For all ages, the percentage of transfers that resulted in singleton live births (average 33%) was lower than the percentage of transfers that resulted in live births (average 55%)
- Singleton live births are an important measure of success because they have a much lower risk than multiple‑infant births for adverse infant health outcomes, including prematurity, low birth weight, disability, and death.
What is the risk of having a multiple-fetus pregnancy or multiple-infant live birth from an IVF cycle using fresh donor eggs?
- Multiple‑infant births are associated with greater problems for both mothers and infants, including higher rates of C-section (caesarean section), prematurity, low birth weight, and infant disability or death.
- Although total percentages for multiples were similar for pregnancies and live births, there were more triplet‑or‑more pregnancies than births.