Causes & Treatment

Can I Use my Own Eggs for Fertility Treatment in my 40s?

Eloise Edington  |   11 May 2022

At Fertility Help Hub, we know there are so many reasons a woman might want to get pregnant in her 40s.

Perhaps she’s tried throughout her 30s with little success. Maybe she’s been focusing on her career or finding a desirable relationship within which to build a family. She might be attempting a second, third (or subsequent) pregnancy to give her children siblings. Or maybe she has another (totally valid) reason. But getting pregnant in your 40s can be more difficult than in your 30s.

So if you’re wondering about getting pregnant in your 30s, 40s and beyond, this article is for you. We’ve spoken to a fertility specialist from IVF-Life about geriatric pregnancies.

IVF Life achieves high success rates and helps patients from all around the world to create their families. View their profile here and their website here.

Here, Dr. Héctor Izquierdo answers your questions about getting pregnant in your forties…

How does a woman’s fertility change from her 30s to 40s?

The chances of getting pregnant at the age of 30 vs 40 reduce dramatically. (Yet these are generalised statistics – and there are exceptions – although it’s easier to get pregnant as a 30-year-old than in your 40s, and it’s more likely a woman in her 30s will have a healthy pregnancy.

With this in mind, we recommend patients preserve their fertility in their 30s so that the risks of the pregnancy are lower during their 40s (egg donation or social freezing). If a woman in her 30s already knows she wants to be a mother by her 40s, she can create and freeze embryos with her partner or use a sperm donor to be a solo parent by choice.”

How can I naturally boost fertility in my 30s?

Lifestyle is the keyword. Exercising, eating properly, and taking care of your body and of your health in a proper way is always a good way to boost fertility. Also, it is important for you to consider preserving your eggs.”

Can you use your own eggs for fertility treatment after the age of 40?

“Yes, absolutely. However, it’s important to note that the chances of having a healthy baby in your 40s are reduced year after year. If you’re considering using your own eggs for fertility treatment in your 40s, in our clinic we recommend using PGT-A, due to the high grade of aneuploid embryos women produce over 40. Apart from that, you are perfectly capable of getting pregnant through fertility treatment with your own eggs. The only restriction would be your egg quality and egg production.”

What is the upper age limit for using my own eggs in IVF treatment?

“The chances of having a successful IVF treatment are dramatically reduced after a woman turns 45 but we also know that there are some women capable of getting pregnant at this age.

At this point, what I always discuss with my patients is the difference between something being possible or something being likely to happen. This must be the main reason for making a final decision. If the patient has some restrictions (such as a family situation or religious beliefs) that make them unlikely to choose egg donation for fertility treatment, she can try IVF treatment with her own eggs. However, a fertility specialist must explain that the chances of success are very low after the age of 45.”

What is the success of using your own eggs for fertility treatment over the age of 40?

“It always depends on the egg reserve (the number of available eggs) that this woman has and on having good embryos after PGT-A testing. Patients with other situations like obesity or high blood pressure should be considered from another perspective. Another factor fertility specialists should consider is that the eggs a woman can produce during fertility treatment have been in her body since she was born. The meiosis (the process that body biology uses to produce eggs) starts before the woman is born, that’s why women have a limited capacity for eggs.”

What are the success rates of IVF over 45, using your own eggs?

“Women over the age of 45 have lower chances of getting pregnant from IVF treatment and achieving a live birth (the ultimate aim of IVF treatment). We need to also understand that the older the patient is, the greater chance of risks in pregnancy.

Nevertheless, we know that the risks associated with fertility treatment for patients in their 40s or older are very similar if they are following a treatment with egg donation. That means the risk lies in the pregnancy itself.

High blood pressure, low sugar problems, miscarriage, and the genetic condition of the baby are problems that occur in patients over 45 using their own eggs, not with egg donation.

How can I improve my egg quality after 45 years old?

The genetic quality of embryos is already established, which means it’s not possible to change the embryos produced by women with their own eggs after 40. Some studies say we might boost those eggs metabolically so that they have a better answer after the stimulation cycle. The stimulation protocol that we use makes them more likely to be able to produce a healthy embryo. But there’s not much that we can do to change or improve that egg quality (either after 30, 35, 40 or older..).”

So is IVF worth it at 45?

“That’s a decision the patient must make. She must consider the likelihood and the possible fertility treatments that are available for her. It’s a personal decision. There are no restrictions imposed by the fertility clinic. As a fertility expert, I ensure female patients understand that the likelihood of getting pregnant via IVF in their 40s is not high.”

And is IVF safe at 50?

“The Spanish society of fertility doesn’t recommend having any fertility treatment after a woman is 50 years old (including IVF or using egg donation). That’s why, in my personal practice, I don’t consider it’s something we should do. Nevertheless, I don’t have the last word in this kind of case. When we meet a patient in her fifties wanting to have a child, we discuss it in our fertility clinic’s ethical committee and we make a decision altogether and then discuss this with the patient.”

Thank you Dr. Héctor Izquierdo for your expert advice on getting pregnant from the age of 40.

To visit the IVF-Life website and book an appointment for fertility treatment (wherever you are in the world), click here.

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