Finally Some Good News for Infertile Women Over 40

Dawn Davenport


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Until the last several years, the common wisdom was that all the wonderful advances at improving the “take home baby” rate for the infertile mainly benefited women under the age of 35. Women over the age of 38 to 40 were encouraged (pushed?) to use donor eggs or, to a lesser degree, donor embryos. Medical science had little to offer them. It’s nice to be able to report that this stubborn fact is beginning to change. On this week’s Creating a Family show, Dr. Marcy Maguire, a reproductive endocrinologist at RMA New Jersey, offered real hope for women over 40 to get pregnant and deliver a healthy baby.



Advances in Fertility Medicine Improves Odds for Women Over 40

The first advancement is the ability to test embryos for chromosomal abnormalities assures that only “normal” embryos will be transferred; thus decreasing the odds of miscarriage or delivery of a child with significant medical issues.

The second advancement seems less dramatic, but has provided huge benefits. Embryos created from older eggs often grow slightly slower than embryos created from eggs from women under the age of 35.  The implantation window (the period of time that the uterus is receptive to an embryo implanting) is not slower in older women. This creates a timing problem. The huge advances in embryo freezing combined with the advances in culturing embryos and allowing them to grow longer in the lab, makes it more likely that embryos from older moms can be transferred the next month at the perfect time to maximize the chances of implantation. Cool!

Both of the medical developments require in vitro fertilization (IVF), but allow the possibility for women to use their own eggs.

Are you over 40 and considering trying to get pregnant? Have you ever felt pushed to move to donor egg more quickly than you were ready?

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29/05/2014 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Blog, Infertility, Infertility Blog | 4 Comments

4 Responses to Finally Some Good News for Infertile Women Over 40

  1. Avatar marilynn says:

    Dr Paulson of USC Keck School of Medicine just announced a 46 year old woman conceived her own baby for the first time via IVF. He said it was a first and an anomoly and women should not assume that they can have a baby of their own as this woman did. It’s hard to imagine people won’t think that they could as well. She’d never had a baby before. They did not say they did anything special in the IVF or selection process and they said she had fertility problems.

    If I were rich and still having difficulty I’d be trying with my own eggs right up until the bitter end of 50 if I saw these articles no matter what warnings they gave. But I’m not rich so I would probably just have fostered kids hoping to go home.

  2. Avatar AnonT says:

    I was just at the cusp at 37 when I started IVF. But the shared risk program allowed women over 38 to participate if they used donor egg. I’m not sure if they would let you use your own eggs if you had good ovarian reserve.
    I was aware that fertility for women decline after 35, but not just how sharply it does. It really doesn’t help that there are so many older celebrities that are having babies. How these children are conceived is not our business, but I do have several friends who find comfort in seeing 40-something actresses having kids. It gives them a false sense of security. A friend of mine, 43 with dimished ovarian reserve was told by the RE that all those celebrities are not using their own eggs. As a matter of public service, I wish these actresses will all “come out”.

  3. Avatar Greg says:

    “But I’m not rich so I would probably just have fostered kids hoping to go home.”

    I think it’s easy for anyone whose circumstances were different to say what they would have done. The reality is we don’t know what we would have done if our circumstances were different.

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