Learn about IVF after 40

In vitro fertilization, or IVF, is the preferred fertility treatment for women in their late-30s and early-40s, but it is important for patients to know the likelihood of success before they start IVF after 40. Fertility doctor Jane Miller MD discusses the impact of ovarian age (the age of the woman) and ovarian reserve (the number of eggs remaining in her ovaries) on the chances of a woman taking home a baby.

The facts about IVF after 40

Retrieving and stimulating more eggs improves the chances of IVF success. However, as a woman ages, her egg quality deteriorates. A woman who is in her late-30s or early-40s has fewer eggs than she did when she was younger and fewer eggs that can be stimulated during IVF.

While it is desirable to retrieve 12 to 15 eggs, these numbers are rare in IVF after 40. If a woman this age produces five eggs during an IVF cycle, it is unlikely that all of them will fertilize, reach Day 5 of development and be genetically normal when biopsied. More often than not, a woman over 40 is left with no genetically normal embryos with high grades that are worthy of transfer. For this reason, the live birth rate after IVF declines with age.

  • Age 40. The live birth rate is as high as 25%.
  • Age 41. The live birth rate is as high as 16%.
  • Age 42. The live birth rate is as high as 4%.
  • Age 45. The national average for live births is no greater than 1%.

Patients often hear these numbers and think that their chances of success will be 25% or 16%, but this isn’t always the case. While these statistics are sobering, patients need to understand them so that they can make informed choices about their treatments.

Finding success with IVF after 40

Dr. Miller believes that a patient over 40 can try IVF with her own eggs as long as she understands the low likelihood of success and keeps her expectations in line with the biological reality of the situation.

Should an IVF cycle with a patient’s own eggs not produce a healthy pregnancy and baby, using donor eggs will improve her chances of success to the national average of 60% or higher.

Contact us if you would like to schedule an appointment and learn more about IVF after 40.