Fertility Treatment in your Forties

The latest figures released by the HFEA indicate the average age to begin fertility treatment has increased to 35.1 years. This reflects the current observation that women in the UK are choosing to start their families later in life. Women aged over forty accounted for one in five IVF cycles performed during 2010; this is an increase of more than 500% based on the number of cycles performed in 1992.

Developments in assisted reproductive techniques and an increased understanding of reproductive science have lead to a significant increase in the success of fertility treatment.  With the media reminding us that medicine can not turn back the fertility clock and the decline in fertility begins in your thirties, is the hope for a baby in your forties a realistic one?

The decline in the success of fertility treatment with advancing age is a reflection of decreasing ovarian reserve, which correlates to the number and quality of the eggs produced.  Fertility treatment aims to optimise the chance of a pregnancy by using artificial hormones to stimulate the production of more eggs than in a natural monthly cycle.  This will create a greater selection of eggs for fertilisation and embryos for transfer which will increase your chance of a pregnancy.

The national average for a live birth is 12.9% based on the HFEA 2010 data for ages 40 – 42 and 5.7% for ages 43 – 44.  At the Herts and Essex Fertility Centre our live birth rate per treatment cycle based on our 2010 data for ages 40 – 42 is 18.5% (Increasing to 20.3% for patients age 40 – 41).  If you are considering the use of donor eggs the chance of a live birth increases significantly to 44% per treatment cycle if you are over forty years old.

The National Institute of Clinical Excellence are responsible for providing guidance on healthcare treatment.  They are currently reviewing their recommendations for fertility treatment eligibility to consider including NHS funding for one cycle of IVF for patients age 40 to 42.  However these are only draft guidelines which individual PCT’s (Primary Care Trusts) do not have to adhere to which means you may have to consider treatment at a private centre.

Embarking on fertility treatment is an important decision to make and at the Herts and Essex Fertility Centre we have an experienced team of caring professionals who can honestly advise and guide you through your journey.  Our consultants can provide you with an individualised treatment plan to enhance your chance of success which may include the options of assisted hatching, blastocyst culture and egg donation.

You can contact us on 01992 785060 to book an appointment to attend one of our open evenings or arrange a consultation where you will be able to meet the staff and view the clinic to help you decide if fertility treatment is the right option for you.

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