IVF and Age - Impact of Female Aging on In Vitro Fertilization Statistics
IVF can be a very effective fertility treatment. However, we need to have sufficient eggs of sufficient quality in order to make it successful.
- Both egg quantity and egg quality are very much related to female age
Testing Egg Quality and Quantity
We do not have a test for egg quality. The best test of egg quality is actually the woman's age. Egg quality translates over to embryo quality - which is by far the most important factor determining if IVF works.
We do have testing for egg quantity that we call "ovarian reserve" tests. These egg supply tests are discussed elsewhere:
In Vitro Fertilization Success Rate Statistics by Female Age
We will use charts and graphs to illustrate important points about age and IVF success.
See our IVF success rates
The graphs below are from the 2010 ART Success Rates report published by the CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a US government agency. The report summarizes national data from hundreds of clinics and many thousands of IVF treatments.
Links to the annual CDC IVF success rate report
This chart is US national average data on success rates per IVF cycle by female age for 2010
The dark blue line (triangles) shows pregnancy rates per cycle by age
The red line (circles) shows live birth rates per cycle
The rate of singleton live births per cycle is shown by the green line
The difference between "pregnancy" rate and "live birth" rate is due to miscarriages
- The data shows the impact of advancing female age on IVF success.
- We can see that the success rate curve starts dropping at about age 28
- It drops faster starting at about age 34 - and even more after age 38
IVF live birth rates per cycle started for different age groups (circled in red)
Percent of IVF cycles resulting in an egg retrieval,an embryo transfer & a pregnancy are also shown
- As women age the probability of reaching egg retrieval or embryo transfer drops
- With aging, the probability of pregnancy and live birth drops even more
US National Average IVF Live Birth Rates and Our Program's Statistics for 2011
|Our success rate for IVF in 2011 (age < 35) was 60%
National average was 42.9%
|Our egg donation success rate for 2011 was 80%
National average was 54.9%
Our IVF success rates exceed national averages
Data above is from the 2011 SART Report
Links to the SART and CDC Reports - check any clinic's success rates
High quality IVF results in better embryo quality which leads to better chances for successful outcomes - at any age.
|Embryo Quality and IVF Success
|Low quality day 3 embryo
Significant cellular fragmentation is evident
|High quality day 5 blastocyst
This embryo has a high chance to implant
Blastocyst transfer can increase implantation
More IVF embryo pictures
In this graph, the green line shows IVF success rates by age using the woman's own eggs
The blue line shows success rates using donor eggs by age of the recipient woman
- The graph above shows that on the average IVF success rates using own eggs starts to drop in the late 20s - and drops faster in the mid 30s and early 40s
- This drop is caused by decreasing egg quantity and quality
- Live births are rare at age 44 and above using the female partner's eggs
- There is no drop in success rate with age when using young donor eggs
- The age of the eggs is very important
- The age of the recipient (uterine age) has very little effect on success rates when using donor eggs
- Most donors are in their 20's - so the "egg age" is excellent with egg donation cycles
- There may be a slight drop in donor egg success for recipients over age 45 or 46
Details of Dr. Sherbahn's research on recipient age and donor egg success rates
Available Treatment for Infertility: In Vitro Fertilization
Many infertility doctors recommend that women over about 38 that are infertile should have aggressive treatment and proceed to in vitro fertilization (IVF) relatively quickly - before all fertility potential is lost.
Most IVF centers are willing to attempt IVF using the female partner's eggs until about age 44, after which the couple would be offered egg donation as the only realistic advanced fertility treatment.
- IVF centers in the US do not all use the same upper age cutoff
- Some clinics do not offer IVF beyond age 42 - others will go to 46 or 47 with own eggs
A comparison of clinic success rates may not be meaningful because patient medical characteristics, treatment approaches and entrance criteria for ART may vary from clinic to clinic.