Known as a form of assisted reproductive technology, IVF, or in vitro fertilization, occurs when a woman’s egg and man’s sperm are combined in a test tube or culture dish. Eggs are removed from the ovaries and are fertilized in a laboratory for 2-6 days before being placed in a woman’s uterus.
The chances of success with IVF are higher for women in their 20s and early 30s, but women in their 40s are seeking to become pregnant and are turning to IVF to do so successfully. Typically, women over 35 are cautioned when trying to become pregnant, because chances of abnormalities as well as risks to mother and child increase. For this reason, women considering IVF in their 40s should know all the facts before setting out on the journey of motherhood for themselves.
Common Questions to Ask your Physician
The best and most direct way to find out more about IVF for women in their 40s is to ask a doctor several important questions. If your physician is unable to answer these questions, he or she should refer you to a fertility specialist who can. The most common questions asked by women considering IVF over 40 are as follows:
Should I Use My Own Eggs or Find a Donor?
More research is required to determine the science behind this answer, but most IVF clinics recommend using a donor’s eggs after the age of 42, sometimes 45. Women who are 41 tend to have a higher success rate when using their own eggs, although some women older than 42 still use their own eggs and go on to have healthy happy babies.
The reason most physicians suggest a donor after 45 is due to the requirement of multiple viable eggs for a treatment. At this age, women produce fewer eggs, and the eggs which are still in production may not all be viable for IVF. Ultimately, women will have a higher rate of success with donor eggs, but the decision of which eggs to use will fall to you and your doctor to decide.
What Are My Chances of Conceiving After 40?
After the age of 40, statistics show that there is approximately a 13.7% chance of getting pregnant. With IVF treatment, the chance of pregnancy is higher than through traditional reproductive techniques alone. Using a donor’s eggs increases the odds of pregnancy to 40%, but many women over 40 who use their own eggs with IVF go on to carry to term.
Chances of miscarriage are higher after 40 than in your 20s or 30s, but the majority of women who become pregnant, even after 40, will not miscarry.
How Do I Find the Best Clinic for Women Over 40?
Choosing an IVF clinic can be daunting, especially if you’re starting from square one. Before determining the clinic you will use, you should research IVF and get the facts. Know whether you want to use your own eggs or a donor’s eggs and write a list of questions you’d like answered by your doctor. One of these questions should be, “How many women over 40 have seen success at your clinic?”
IVF can become costly (financially and emotionally) when multiple attempts are required; for this reason, it’s important to put yourself in the most capable hands available. Reading reviews of previous clients or reaching out to online IVF groups can be helpful in finding the clinics that have had success, offer friendly doctors, and maintain a supportive staff.
Before making your final decision, take advantage of a consultation and speak to the clinic staff in person. Make an appointment with the doctor you would potentially be working with and see if he or she would be a good fit for you and your family.
Whether you’re about to turn 40, or you’re in your early to mid-40s, conceiving a child through IVF is a possibility. If you’re considering IVF, reach out to us and we’ll be happy to discuss whether this method of assisted reproduction is right for you.