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IVF options for women over 40

The number of women having babies after the age of 40 has increased fourfold in the last 30 years, with 1 in 25 babies now born to mothers aged 40+. Fortunately, the science and technology behind assisted reproduction is moving forward all the time and there has never been a better chance of getting pregnant at over 40. Knowing that women’s fertility does decrease dramatically after 40, for the best chance of success it is important for you to have all the facts about conception at 40 and above.

What are the chances of getting pregnant at 40 and over?

The decline in fertility begins around the age of 32 and becomes more rapid at 35. By age 40, fertility has fallen by half. While at 30 there is a 20% chance of falling pregnant per cycle, this has fallen to 5% by age 40 and 1% at age 45.

This decline is down to a decrease in both the quantity and quality of eggs. Women are born with a finite number of follicles, and the number of these decreases throughout the fertile lifespan.

At 40 there are around 10,000 eggs which is 3% of the original supply. The remaining follicles also accumulate mutations over time, which is believed to be due to a breakdown of DNA repair mechanisms. What all this means is that the rate of failed fertilisation, miscarriage and birth defects increases over time.

 

Which fertility treatments are most suitable for older women?

For many women over the age of 40, their best chance of getting pregnant is with assisted reproductive technologies. If this is the case for you, then there are a range of different IVF treatments available to match your circumstances and preferences.

At CREATE Fertility we specialise in Mild IVF and Natural IVF. Our Natural and Natural Modified treatments in particular are very successful in patients over the age of 40 who want to have a baby with their own eggs.

 

What is Natural IVF?

Natural IVF relies on the principle of using the body’s natural selection mechanisms to obtain the highest quality egg. This is particularly important for older women, who have a lower reserve of eggs.

In this treatment, we track the development of the naturally selected follicle which usually contains the healthiest egg, and we may gently encourage its growth before collection.

For women in this age group, using a lot of stimulating drugs tends to be counterproductive, as there is not usually a very large supply of eggs to recruit from, and many will not be viable for fertilisation.

Selecting the highest quality egg and using fewer drugs results in a higher chance of fertilisation of that egg, and a better environment in the womb for the embryo to implant.

Natural Cycle IVF

Pure Natural Cycle IVF is the closest that IVF treatment can get to natural fertilisation. It focuses on the quality of eggs collected, rather than the quantity, and works naturally with your body. Natural Cycle IVF involves egg collection aligned with your natural menstrual cycle; no fertility drugs/injections are used throughout the process.

Natural Cycle IVF vs Conventional IVF

 

Benefits of Natural Cycle IVF:

  • No stimulation drugs
  • Lower cost
  • More control over the cycle that works best for you
  • Fewer side effects
  • Higher quality eggs
  • Better implantation
  • Reduced risk of premature or low birth weight babies
  • Opportunity for some women to have a child with their own eggs rather than donor eggs
  • Safer for your body
  • Better for your emotional and mental well-being

Who is Natural IVF for?

Natural Cycle IVF is suitable for every woman who is still ovulating and wants to avoid stimulating IVF drugs, however, it is particularly suitable for those who:

  • Have low ovarian/egg reserve
  • Are older but wish to try with their own eggs, rather than with donor eggs
  • Suffer from severe endometriosis
  • Have a history of hormone-dependent cancers
  • Want to avoid the risks and side effects of high stimulation IVF
  • Have had previous failure of implantation with conventional IVF
  • Women who have had a poor response to conventional IVF (e.g. produced fewer than three eggs)

Find out more

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Natural Modified IVF

Natural Modified IVF is a form of Natural IVF,  but differs from Natural Cycle IVF as during the Natural Modified process, medication is given for 3-4 days in order to block spontaneous ovulation (prior to egg collection), and a small dose of stimulation hormone is given to support the follicle whilst blocking ovulation. For women who want to avoid injections, we can tailor the Natural Modified IVF cycle using tablets. The aim is to collect naturally selected egg/s.

Natural Modified IVF vs Conventional IVF

Benefits of Natural Modified IVF?

  • Retains many of the benefits of Natural Cycle IVF, alongside improved success rates
  • Improved egg and embryo quality compared with conventional IVF
  • Reduced risks and fewer side effects
  • Reduced risk of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)
  • More affordable treatment costs

Who is Natural Modified IVF for?

  • Women with low AMH or low egg reserve
  • Women who have had previous failure of implantation with conventional IVF
  • For those who have a strong family history of breast, ovarian and other oestrogen dependant cancers
  • Opportunity for some women to have a child with their own eggs rather than donor eggs

Find out more

 

Need more help as you consider your options?

There is no denying that age and the impact of low egg reserve reduce the chance of falling pregnant whether naturally or with fertility treatment, but at CREATE, we believe every woman deserves the opportunity to be a biological mother.

We want to make sure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision about fertility treatment. Watch our free on-demand webinar hosted by our Medical Director, Professor Geeta Nargund, where she will explain all of your treatment options and next steps.

Watch now

Read our patient reviews