Fertility Treatments In Women Over 40

Fertility can be a tough conversation for many people to have. And while infertility can impact all genders equally, women tend to be the focus of this subject. In particular, most people are aware that egg quality and quantity decline with age and that other mitigating factors may also make successfully conceiving and carrying to term more difficult. Many women and couples turn to fertility treatments to improve the chances of conception. One common question about fertility treatment is whether individuals should opt for in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI).

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IVF overview

Most people are more familiar with IVF, a reproductive therapy that includes taking hormones to boost ovulation, retrieving eggs during the ovulation window, fertilizing the eggs with partner or donor sperm, and then the embryos are transferred back to the uterus. The hope is that successful implantation will occur and that a healthy pregnancy will progress.

IUI explained

IUI is another form of artificial insemination. However, the process is usually less complex than IVF. Fertilization takes place inside the body because, with IUI, sperm collected from a partner or donor is inserted directly into the uterus during a woman’s ovulation window. In short, IUI eliminates the process of sperm needing to travel from the vagina and can boost the chances of conception.


Both IUI and IVF have pros and cons. While IUI is often cheaper and less invasive for the woman, reproductive therapy can still require a woman to take fertility medication to boost egg release. And consequently, multiple births are possible. Meanwhile, IVF’s high costs and emotional impact can be offset by the highest success rates across all age groups.

Fertility treatments for women over 40

Historically, success rates are always the lowest for women aged 40 and up, regardless of the fertility treatment attempted. Keep in mind that when women are born, the ovaries already possess all the possible eggs available. Egg quality declines as a woman ages. So, while IVF still has the best success rates of all the assisted reproductive therapy (ART) options, the success stories are significantly smaller in older women.

Picking the right ART track

Many factors will influence whether an older woman should opt for IUI over IVF. However, in most cases, fertility specialists will usually recommend opting for IVF first because of the higher success rates. However, if a woman or couple is adamant about trying IUI, the recommendations can vary from just one to no more than three cycles. If a couple has concerns about age and fertility, consider speaking with a physician or reproductive specialist to determine if infertility is an issue and the best solutions to try to conceive.

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