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IVF and Age - Impact of Female Aging on In Vitro Fertilization Statistics

IVF and Age - Impact of Female Aging on In Vitro Fertilization Statistics
  • 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 2012 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

IVF success by age graph CDC report data This chart is US national average data on success rates per IVF cycle by female age for 2012 The dark blue line (triangles) shows pregnancy rates per cycle by age The orange line (circles) shows live birth rates per cycle by age The rate of singleton live births per cycle is shown by the light blue 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 31 - and even more after age 37

IVF outcomes by age group - CDC report 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 2013

Our success rate for IVF in 2013 (age < 35) was 58%
National average was 40%
OOur egg donation success rate for 2013 was 77%
National average was 56%

Our IVF success rates exceed national averages Data above is from the 2013 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.

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

IVF success statistics by age - own and donor eggs compared

In this graph, the orange 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

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

Read more about age limits for in vitro fertilization

Related Articles

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.