How old is too old? IVF helped a 74-year old become a mother

It is a well-known fact that it becomes increasingly difficult for women to fall pregnant as they get older due to a decline in the number of eggs as well as their quality.

Women are born with a predetermined number of approximately 300,000 eggs and do not produce any more in their lifetime. Therefore, as a woman age, her eggs age, resulting in poorer chances of a successful pregnancy.

On average, a woman’s chances of conceiving begin to decline from the age of 32. Yet, we hear on the news all the time that there is a new record for the oldest mother! A 74-year-old from India is now the oldest woman to give birth. Using donor eggs, she had her IVF treatment in January and gave birth to twin girls in September. 

So does age matter in IVF fertility treatments? Yes… and no.

Yes, because IVF success rates highly depend on age.

Generally, younger women under the age of 35 have a higher success rate with IVF treatments. At 30, approximately 36,000 eggs remain and by at the age of 40, only 9,000 eggs are left. After the age of 40, there is also an increased risk and pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia (a condition characterised by high blood pressure), placental issues, diabetes, premature birth or a baby with low birth weight.

No, because with improved quality of life and healthcare, the majority of women in their 40s and 50s today are much healthier in comparison.

This means there is an increase in the number of older women being mothers, some with the help of assisted reproductive technology (ART) like artificial insemination and IVF. 

So it really depends on the individual.

While the most recent oldest mother had success with only one IVF cycle, the previous record-holder (pictured here) had been trying for 2 years and undergone 3 cycles of IVF before she gave birth to a baby boy in 2017. 

What is the age limit for IVF treatments?

There isn’t a specific age limit on IVF treatments; you will find that it will vary depending on the country and the clinic. 

For example, in the United Kingdom, the National Health Service (NHS) recently lifted the age limit from 34 years to 40 years allowing many women to access free fertility treatment if certain criteria are met. Whereas in Australia, there is no age limit except for South Australia, where the maximum recommended age is currently set at 52 years old. 

It is important to note that most private IVF clinics do not place age restrictions. However, they may still turn you away. As mentioned, there are increased risks with getting pregnant at a more mature age. Provided that the fertility doctors have evaluated your health, and assessed the quantity and quality of your eggs, and deemed you a suitable candidate to undergo IVF, age should not be the only limiting factor.

Other IVF restrictions and regulations

As with IVF age limits, the laws, restrictions and guidelines vary depending on the country. It is important to do your research if you are considering going abroad for IVF treatments. For women seeking IVF treatment overseas using a sperm donor, you need to know that in places like Iran, sperm donations are not permitted even though egg donation is allowed. 

Search for recommendations

Louise Brown, the word's first IVF baby

The first IVF baby was born in the UK in 1978 and according to CNN, there have been more than 8 million babies since then. 

Firstly, it’s a relief knowing you’re not alone and that there are many others much like yourself who are seeking answers and help.

A quick search online and you will find an incredible number of online communities and support groups dedicated to infertility treatments. 

Secondly, you’ll find that their stories will benefit you immensely, even if they live halfway across the world. Perhaps their journey with the IVF clinic in their country is exactly what you’re looking for.

If you’ve had an IVF journey yourself, locally or overseas, we’d hope you can share your experience with us on wotmed.com

We’re working to build a community where you can connect with doctors, hospitals, and medical clinics that have been highly recommended by others. By telling your story and sharing it, you might just help someone else in their journey. 

Your experience may be exactly what someone else is looking for. 

Disclaimer: The information in this guide should be taken as general advice only and the full policy details should be reviewed to see if the policies are right for your own circumstances.

Advertisements