Is there an age limit for IVF?
Most fertility clinics in the United States set an upper age limit for IVF treatment and embryo transfer using the mother’s own eggs. The limit is usually between 42 and 45 years of age. The reason for this is that embryo transfer success rates decline significantly after the age of 37. Furthermore, women of 40 who do get pregnant are more likely to experience complications such as:
- Premature birth
- Placental problems
- High blood pressure
- Genetic abnormalities
- Low birth weight baby
Embryo transfer over 40
Age is an important factor for women who wish to start a family using IVF. Not only does fertility decline after age 37, at ages 43 and above, donated eggs from younger women are usually required for a successful embryo transfer.
As a woman’s ovaries age the eggs become less able to fertilize and the embryos are less able to implant. By age 30, a woman has only 12% of the estimated 300,000 eggs most women have at birth. By age 40 fewer than 9,000 eggs remain. As age increases, fewer eggs are available, and the viability of the eggs is less certain.
Cryopreservation of eggs
Women over the age of 40 who had their eggs cryopreserved at an earlier age have a 38% chance of successful implantation after embryo transfer. The chance of a live birth is around 28%. Women who have spare embryos available after a successful IVF cycle, often freeze the eggs. Cryopreservation allows spare eggs to be used for embryo transfers in the future. This process provides more options for women with full careers who wish to start a family later in life.