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IVF in Your 40s? – How Age Affects Egg Quality and Fertility

At the age of 20, as a female, you are at the peak of your fertility. Needless to say, the older you get, the quantity and quality of your eggs begin to decline. As a result, age plays a significant role when it comes to using your eggs for a successful pregnancy. Thus, the percentage of chromosomally abnormal eggs starts to increase in your 40s compared to when you were younger. Taking all this into consideration, if you want to conceive at an older age, although you may feel hopeless, thanks to In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) among other advanced treatments, the age factor can be overcome and you may hold your baby in your arms, even at the age of 55.

IVF, Simplified

IVF is a series of procedures that starts with hormone therapy. This first stage aims to stimulate the development of several follicles (eggs) in your ovary so that they can then later be collected and fertilised in-vitro (in a test tube) to create embryos.
After the eggs have been harvested for three to five days in an incubator, the embryos are checked for chromosomal abnormalities and the best ones are then transferred into your uterus through the vagina, to initiate the implantation process and begin a pregnancy.
Although pregnancy success rates decline with age, due to the technology we use at Cyprus IVF Clinic, we can overcome this hurdle and treat women not only in their 40s but also those in their 50s, while maintaining high success rates! Women even in their mid-40s can sometimes have enough quality eggs to proceed to IVF without the need for donor eggs.
This shows us that every case and every treatment can be very different from each other. That is why we show careful attention and examination for each of our patients so that we can tailor the best treatment protocol for them.

Egg Quality, Fertility, and IVF

Ovarian reserve means, the number of eggs remaining in a woman’s ovaries. If you are trying to get pregnant, it may not be so significant to how many eggs you may have. However, if you are going through IVF treatment, egg quantity is directly linked with the response to ovarian stimulation medications. This, on the other hand, is quite important because the more remaining eggs you have, the more eggs we can harvest (and work with) with the IVF cycle. As a result, your chances to get pregnant and give birth to a healthy child increase significantly.

In more detail: 
The quality of eggs is strongly linked to the quality of embryos. As females advance in age, chromosomally abnormalities in eggs also begin to increase. Studies show that almost 30% of 30-year-old women’s eggs are chromosomally abnormal. By the age of 40, this percentage increases to 60% and dramatic further increases to 90% by their mid-40s. In other words, 9 out of 10 eggs of women in their mid-40s are abnormal and will lead to an embryo with abnormalities or to a miscarriage.

Fortunately, at Cyprus IVF Clinic, we have the technology and advanced equipment that allows us not only to choose the best embryos from the group but also to test for chromosomal abnormalities before they are transferred back into the uterus.

Important Notes About Having an IVF Over 40 in Other Countries

If you want to proceed with your own eggs, most IVF clinics in the US, the UK, and the rest of Europe have an upper age limit for allowing IVF treatment. They won’t allow women over 42 or 45 (depending on the clinic’s policies) to use their own eggs for fertilisation. This means that even if your eggs are of good quality, you won’t be able to use them. Instead, you will be required to use donor eggs.
When you are using donor eggs, which is an amazing alternative for women with poor egg quality or low ovarian reserve, the age of the donor is very important. So, make sure you get as much information as you can about the donor. However, keep in mind that most clinics abroad do not disclose much about their donors’ identities. However, you do have the right to know who will be providing their DNA for you to start a family. Don’t settle for anything less.
When considering egg donation, rest assured that the only factor important is the age of the donor and not the recipient. Your age has very little impact on the chance of a successful pregnancy.
Most fertility clinics abroad allow the use of donor eggs to patients’ up to their late 40s. This is disappointing news for older women that want to have a child of their own.

IVF Over 40 and Genetic Testing in North Cyprus

Studies that have focused on the chromosome and genetic make-up of embryos and eggs have concluded that the error rate is higher in women over 40, which is why older mothers illustrate an increased risk of, for example, Down’s syndrome.
However, with Preimplantation Genetic Screening, we can test the embryos for euploidy (chromosomally normalcy) before the transfer and select only the best one(s) for transfer. Needless to say, those embryos with normal chromosomal analysis have the best chances for not only implantation but also live childbirth.

Donor Eggs and IVF Over 40 in North Cyprus

In cases where women do not have their own eggs anymore or when their eggs cannot be used for IVF due to poor quality or chromosomal abnormalities, egg donation is the most commonly used alternative, giving excellent results. You can understand if your ovaries’ follicles may have run out by observing the signs, which usually include irregular or no periods at all. This is often an indication of menopause.

Given the serious lack of supply of donor eggs in the UK and other European countries, many fertility clinics have to collaborate with overseas clinics and share eggs. Of course, this raises some red flags as you can never really know who the egg donor is and how meticulous their screening process has been.

On the contrary, the donor program at the Cyprus IVF Clinic is closely monitored by our fertility expert and Obstetrician-Gynaecologist, Dr Cenksoy who offers a unique approach to those in need of quality donor eggs. Our testing procedure is remarkably rigorous, and all our donors are personally selected and screened by Dr Cenksoy himself. Our donors are no older than 26 years of age and have all donated eggs that have led to a successful pregnancy (proven donors). In addition, all donors go through approval by the government before entering our donor programme.

Besides the Bi-Monthly Screening Procedures All Donors Undergo, Some Other Tests Include:

Genetic disorders.
Hormone tests.
Infectious diseases, such as Anti-HCV, Anti-HIV, VDRL, and more.
We are completely patient-focused, which is why finding the best treatment per case is our top priority. No matter the fertility issue and the age of our patients, we can provide solutions that will lead us to the desired result. It should be noted that the selected egg donor is super-ovulated exclusively for your use. This means that we will harvest at least 10 and up to 20 eggs solely for your treatment and not share eggs with another recipient. You can expect 10 high-quality eggs per cycle, guaranteed.

We show great significance when it comes to our donor programme. In many countries, such as the UK, such programmes are not confidential and anonymous for both parties. The donor gets to know who used their eggs and what the outcome was, while the recipient has no protection if their child seeks donor information. At the Cyprus IVF Clinic, everything is done with utmost discretion and anonymity.

However, you do have a saying when it comes to selecting an egg donor. For example, you can choose one that bears similar features like yours (i.e. same skin/hair/eye colour) and even the same nationality. You may also choose one per their education level and/or occupation, as well as body type.

And, if you don’t feel very comfortable with the egg donor idea, you can also consider having eggs from a loved family member or friend transferred to your uterus, which is something you will only find in a handful of fertility clinics worldwide.

Other Options

Besides egg donation, we also run an embryo donation program, which is a great alternative for couples experiencing issues with both the sperm and egg. Again, our embryo donors also undergo a series of scrutinising tests to make sure the embryos are in perfect health. You can either choose to have a fresh embryo donation treatment or use frozen embryos.

Final Advice for Women Above the Age of 40

At the age of 40, your biological clock ticks quite loudly. It is important not to psych yourself out. Instead, try to reduce your stress levels (i.e. yoga or other mind-body behavioural techniques). Acupuncture is believed to help with hormones and increase blood supply to the uterus, delivering a feeling of relaxation. Elevated stress levels put at risk the outcome of an IVF treatment.
IVF is a great solution if you are over 40. But, don’t wait too long to seek help. If you are in your late 30s to early 40s and have been trying to get pregnant for 3+ months, it’s a good idea to see your Obstetrician-Gynaecologist and make sure you don’t have, for example, anovulatory dysfunction or blocked fallopian tubes, which are correctable issues. At the same time, your doctor will also assess your ovarian reserve (via hormone levels) and determine whether you are experiencing early menopause.
Consider egg donation. It has a success rate of about 70% per cycle for a woman over 40.
For any information about IVF over 40 or any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call or contact us. Fulfilling your dream to start a family is our top priority. We are there to start this wonderful journey together with you.you will only find in a handful of fertility clinics worldwide.
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