How old is too old for IVF?

Women in late middle age are apparently being inspired by celebrities like Janet Jackson to seek IVF treatment, leading experts warn.

Women in late middle age are apparently being inspired by celebrities like Janet Jackson to seek IVF treatment, leading experts warn.
Experts have seen growing numbers of older women looking to become mums up to their 60s, of late.
It has led doctors to issue guidance on dealing with the consequences, including how to manage “difficult conversations” with older couples hoping to conceive.
At the world’s biggest fertility conference experts said childbirth can have life-changing complications for older mothers.
And children face the trauma of losing parents at an early age or becoming carers.
Older women that have given birth after IVF treatment have led many to question whether there should be age limits with such treatment?
In many countries where there is funding assistance for IVF there is a limit to obtaining treatment over a certain age. In Britain, for example, the age limit is 42. But, if a woman decides to have private treatment, why care about her age? In fact, is it any of our business at all whether she has access to IVF?
In some countries, the cut-off point is 40. But, is 40 really too old for a woman to have a baby? It's a poignant question, considering that frozen embryos have been shown to have just a much success as fresh embryos, thus allowing women to become mothers later in life.
Realistically, there has to be a cut-off point somewhere for couples that struggle to conceive, but how old is too old?
40 is generally the cut-off point because the chance of pregnancy drops significantly for women in their late 30s.
Interestingly, there is no cut off age for men because there is no male equivalent of menopause. For women, fertility does run out; for men, it does go down,but not as dramatically.
Studies show, as well as having more maturity and likely more financial backing, research has found that women who give birth after 40 live longer than other women. Not only that, but the children of older mothers who give birth through IVF perform better academically.  
Ironically, mother nature has it that women are most fertile at an age and time where mentally women may not be as matured. Another reason why women chose to wait until they’re both mentally matured and financially stable before having a baby.
But let's not forget the risks of older pregnancies.
Endless studies show that pregnancy becomes riskier as women get older.
You are more likely to have an early pregnancy loss or miscarriage, which is a devastating experience.
If you are in an older age bracket, you have health problems like high blood pressure and so on or in previous pregnancies if you have had problems you need to engage a GP or someone skilled in pregnancy early, ideally before you try for pregnancy.
How age affects fertility: 
  • Under 35, nearly half will have a baby
  • At 37, a third will have a baby
  • At 39, a quarter will have a baby
  • At 40, a fifth will have a baby
  • At 42, one in 10 will have a baby
- Source: Fertility Associates
There may be some sound reasons why women might consider avoiding getting IVF as they get older. However, research offers a thorough account of why none of these reasons could justify a legal prohibition against women’s access to IVF based on age.
Perhaps, we should just stop telling women what to do with their bodies?
“I think women having babies up until they are mid- to late forties is absolutely fine - we are generally healthier and living longer etc. I wish genetics would catch up with modern life so that women didn't have to put themselves through IVF - women are generally at their most fertile in their teens and early twenties, but they are far more likely to be emotionally, mentally and financially ready in their thirties and forties.
"I do think that anyone trying to have a baby later in life has more of an obligation/responsibility to that child to keep themselves fit and healthy, to be able to run around, play games with their child and to try to keep any health problems at bay, but I think this possibly applies to all parents in general. I think that health and lifestyle is more important than age with this issue - there can be a big difference in the vitality and suitability (for motherhood) of a 45-year-old who smokes, drinks too much, doesn't exercise compared to that of a 45-year-old who is healthy and looks after herself.” from a  mother of 3 and reader of FFHQ.
Laura Doyle, Mum of 4. Kyle 9, Noa Belle 4, Briar 2 and Milla 12 months. Breastfeeder, co-sleeper, coffee drinker. Staying positive and inspired in the chaos of it all. Writer and blogger at

Laura Doyle

Mum of four, Gentle parent living on coffee and trying always to stay positive and motivate in the midst of the madness.

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