Naturally, the female fertility decreases with age. Natural pregnancy options diminish over the years. Nevertheless, they are an increasing amount of women who delay and delay the moment of trying to have their first child. In the UK, the average age to be a mother for the first time is around 30 years, age that has been rising year after year. The most common reasons for delaying motherhood are mainly due to the difficulties in obtaining employment and economic stability, as well as finding a stable partner.

Therefore, we can say that we are facing a decline in the fertility rate in Western countries. Many women choose motherhood beyond 40, when fertility is already in clear decline. In addition to problems getting pregnant, at this age the risks of abortions and / or chromosomal abnormalities in embryos increase. But then, is it possible to be a mother with own eggs above this age?

The female reproductive aging

Fertility in women declines rapidly with age, especially after being 35. If at 25 the chances of becoming pregnant for every unprotected intercourse in healthy and fertile couples is 23%, with 35 years it is only 15%, and after 40 it is down to 5%. Over 45 years the chances of becoming pregnant are small to none.

The female reproductive aging process is due to the gradual decrease in the quantity and quality of the oocytes in the follicles. In the ovary there are millions of germ cells from the 5th month of pregnancy and will decrease until reaching menopause, where ovarian reserve is virtually nonexistent. This female reproductive aging process varies greatly among women, as some will lose their fertility at 35 and others near 50. This process is influenced by environmental genetic factors or lifestyle.

As we can see, after 40, possibly some kind of fertility treatment is required to achieve pregnancy. In assisted reproduction treatments, quality of oocytes is essential. Delaying motherhood has a bad influence on egg quality. With age, the rate of abortions, Down syndrome and other genetic abnormalities is increased, as well as having an increased risk of cesarean section, gestational diabetes, intrauterine growth restriction or fetal death.

Success rates of pregnancy for women over 40 years

Above 40 years, the success rate of natural pregnancy is less than 5%. As we have noted, at this age it is very difficult to get pregnant without resorting to assisted reproduction treatments. Above 38 years assisted reproduction clinics generally recommend IVF treatments, which get better pregnancy rates than artificial insemination.

This pregnancy rate refers to pregnancies achieved after the complete cycle of puncture for collecting oocytes (of the patient or donor), fertilization by generally ICSI and transfer to the uterus (either fresh oocytes patient or the donor, or cryopreserved oocytes previously patient or donor).

  • Pregnancy Success Rate through IVF with own eggs …… 24.6%
  • Pregnancy Success Rate through IVF with own eggs previously frozen (preservation of ferlitity) …… 25.3%
  • Pregnancy Success Rate through IVF  with egg donation …… 53.1%
  • Pregnancy Success Rate through IVF  with egg donation previously frozen (cryopreserved donated oocytes) …… 39.3%

Proper eggs or donated eggs?

It seems clear that pregnancy rates using donor eggs is greater, so the recommended treatment in women over 40 years is IVF with egg donation. In addition, we must consider that the possibility of abortion also increases with the age of the eggs, so using the eggs of a younger donor helps to the success of a treatment. For most people, having biological children is part of their life plan. When the diagnosis made by the specialist in reproductive medicine indicates that the best option to get pregnant is through donated eggs, the couple may be affected.

In these cases the advice and counseling by specialists is essential and necessary to assess the impact on the couple and help them make the difficult decision to conceive with donated eggs. Resorting to donated eggs is a solution that is used increasingly more often women who want to delay childbearing.