Why is IVF difficult after 40?
In vitro fertilization (IVF) takes the sperm and egg of the intended parents to create multiple embryos. The healthiest embryos are then transferred to the woman’s womb for pregnancy. IVF has historically had high success rates for women younger than 35. However, the success rates can sharply decline at age 40 and beyond. Getting and staying pregnant is especially difficult, especially starting at age 45. Women over 40 often have poor egg quality and lower egg quantities. Even if the woman is in perfect physical health, there can still be poor ovarian health.
How can surrogacy help?
A surrogate is a woman who carries a baby to term for a hopeful couple. Doctors may also use intrauterine insemination (IUI) for pregnancy using the woman’s natural eggs. With traditional surrogacy, the surrogate has biological links to the child. Gestational surrogacy is used via IVF. The fertility team prepares a fresh or thawed embryo for the surrogate to carry to term. Gestational surrogacy will use the eggs and sperm of the intended parents. These surrogates are often young women in excellent reproductive health.
At what age should you consider surrogacy?
The age often depends on the patient’s reproductive health and the medical team’s recommendations. Some clinics place a hard cap on age 45 and above. For the health and safety of all involved, a surrogate may be best. Other clinics offer surrogacy as an option starting at age 40. If the woman still has healthy eggs, IVF is still an option. However, failed cycles, miscarriages, or health concerns are signs to try surrogacy starting around age 40.
A future family through surrogacy
IVF is the gold standard for those struggling to get pregnant. However, the success rates after 40 are still low compared to younger age groups. A younger surrogate can increase the chances of pregnancy. The medical team may still be able to use the patient’s eggs and chosen sperm. In some cases, a donor egg with surrogacy may be the best. Surrogacy has several moving parts with different laws in each state. Yet, the benefits of a healthy baby far outweigh the risks involved. Surrogacy can offer many hopeful couples the opportunity to start a family.