Up to What Age Can I Use My Eggs in IVF Treatment?

A woman is born with all the eggs she will ever have in her lifetime, and this reserve diminishes over time. As women age, their eggs’ quantity and quality decrease, impacting their fertility. While a newborn girl has an ovarian reserve of about 1-2 million eggs, this number drops to 250,000-300,000 by the time she reaches her first menstrual period. The reserve continues to decline until it is depleted by menopause. The rate of decline in ovarian reserve becomes particularly noticeable after the age of 37.

Age and Fertility: Ideal Age Range for Using Your Eggs in IVF Treatment

There is no strict upper age limit for undergoing IVF treatment, but the upper limit in IVF is considered to be menopause for women. Menopause is the natural end of a woman’s menstrual cycle and egg production. As women enter menopause with advancing age, it becomes impossible for them to conceive using their eggs.

The ability to use your eggs in IVF treatment depends on several factors, primarily your age, ovarian reserve, and overall reproductive health. Here’s a detailed overview to help you understand when you might be able to use your eggs in IVF treatment:

  • Under 35 Years: Women under the age of 35 have a high chance of success using their own eggs in IVF treatment. The number and quality of eggs are generally higher in this age group, increasing the likelihood of a successful outcome.
  • 35 – 40 Years: Fertility declines noticeably after the age of 35 in women, with an increased risk of chromosomal abnormalities in eggs. Despite reduced success rates in IVF during this age range, many women still have a chance of achieving pregnancy through treatment.
  • 40 – 45 Years: While some women in their early 40s may still have a chance of successful pregnancy using their own eggs, the process often becomes more challenging and less likely. If ovarian reserve tests and antral follicle count (AFC) on the 2nd day of menstruation indicate sufficient ovarian capacity, IVF treatment can be pursued. Success rates in IVF significantly decline as women approach their mid-40s due to diminishing egg quantity and quality, alongside an increased risk of chromosomal anomalies in the eggs. Chromosomal abnormalities can prevent healthy embryo development, leading to issues such as miscarriage, birth defects, or difficulties in achieving pregnancy. Therefore, when planning IVF treatment for women aged 38 and above, methods like preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy (PGT-A) can be used to assess the chromosomal health of embryos, thereby increasing the chances of a healthy pregnancy.
  • 45 Years and Older: Many fertility clinics set an upper limit of around 45 years for women to undergo IVF using their own eggs. Beyond this age, the chances of success are very low due to decreased egg quality and a high risk of genetic anomalies. Hence, women aged 45 and above are often advised to consider IVF with egg donation as this option significantly increases the chances of pregnancy for older women by using high-quality donor eggs.
What Are the IVF Success Rates for Different Age Categories ?

IVF success rates tend to decrease as age increases. While there is no definitive “ideal” age for undergoing IVF treatments, the success rate of live births per egg retrieval does vary significantly by age group:

Age Range Live Birth Rate
35 and under 52.5%
35 to 37 42%
38 to 40 28.4%
41 to 42 <15%
42 and above <5%

Source: https://www.sartcorsonline.com/rptCSR_PublicMultYear.aspx?ClinicPKID=0#live-birth-patient

It’s important to note that success rates can be affected by numerous factors, including overall health, egg and sperm quality, and specific fertility issues.

For women over 42, choosing an egg donor can significantly boost success rates, increasing the likelihood of a successful pregnancy to nearly 50%. The success rate for IVF with egg donation at our hospital is up to 86%. More information about our success rates can be found on our website


Key Factors Influencing Egg Viability

  • Ovarian Reserve: This refers to the number and quality of eggs remaining in your ovaries. Tests like Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH) levels, Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) levels, and antral follicle count can help assess ovarian reserve.
  • Hormonal Levels: Hormone levels such as AMH, FSH, and Estradiol (E2) provide insights into your reproductive health and the likelihood of successful IVF with your eggs.
  • Genetic Factors:Genetic predispositions can affect a woman's egg quality. Conditions like Fragile X syndrome, specific chromosomal abnormalities, and inherited mitochondrial mutations can impact egg viability and fertility.
  • General Health:Overall health, including lifestyle factors like BMI, healthy diet, exercise, smoking, alcohol consumption, and stress, can impact egg quality and fertility. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial for reproductive success.

When to Consider Alternatives

If your ovarian reserve tests indicate low egg quality or quantity, or if you’ve had multiple unsuccessful IVF cycles, your doctor might recommend considering alternatives such as:

  • Egg Donation: Using eggs from a younger and healthy donor significantly increases the success rate of IVF. This program, utilizing donated eggs, offers a chance for women who cannot conceive using their own eggs to become pregnant.
  • Embryo Donation: Embryo donation is a treatment option that can be considered by single women unable to undergo IVF with their own eggs or couples facing infertility issues in both partners. In this procedure, embryos are created using both sperm and eggs obtained from donors. This approach also helps prevent the transmission of genetic diseases to the next generation.
  • Tandem IVF: This involves using both your own eggs and donor eggs simultaneously, providing a backup plan if your eggs do not result in a successful pregnancy.

The window for using your eggs in IVF narrows with age, particularly after 40. Regular fertility assessments and consultations with a fertility specialist are essential to determine the best course of action based on your health and fertility status. If you’re over 45, alternatives like egg donation or embryo adoption may offer a higher chance of achieving a successful pregnancy.

Medical Director and IVF Specialist, Dr. Serap Kağan

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