Many couples went through IVF in hope to have a child. Many view this treatment as the last resort to having a child. Therefore, it is not unusual for me to encounter couples who had exhausted ALL forms of treatment and landed in my clinic after many frustrating years. Some had come a bit too late….
Part of my job as an IVF specialist includes constantly being asked by patients on their chances of pregnancy by IVF.
This is definitely a relevant question. IVF is an expensive treatment and certainly after spending XYZ amount money on this treatment, you would like to know what is your chance of pregnancy.
In general, the chance of pregnancy depend on 3 most important factors: The woman’s age, the number of years of subfertility & whether there had been any pregnancies in the past.
Out of these three factors, the most important and relevant factor would be a woman’s age.
Studies had shown that after the age of 35, the chance of women getting pregnant naturally as well as through Fertility Treatment declined gradually. There is a further sharp declined after the age of 40.
I do not mean to press the panic button for all the women over the age of 35. However, I strongly feel that this is an important message which many Fertility Specialists like us had not been shouting loud enough to educate the general public.
Studies from Australia & US had shown that the success rate of an IVF is around 50% before the age of 35. The success rate drops thereafter and hit the range of 20-30% by the time the woman turns 40. The chance of pregnancy after the age of 44-45 is close to 0%.
The reason for a lower success rate after the age of 35 is a combination of the fact that age is associated with decrease number of follicles and quality of the eggs. For women, we are born with millions of eggs and the process of recruitment and activation of eggs started as we reached puberty. The number of eggs in our ovaries go down as we aged. By the time we each menopause, the eggs were completely depleted in our ovaries. Therefore, at the age of 35, we are expected to be producing less number of eggs. As we age, the quality of eggs also decrease and there is higher likelihood to produce eggs with abnormal chromosomes. Therefore, there is a higher risk of miscarriage and fetal anomalies.