Home > Fertility services > Fertility for the over forties
It’s not too late to have a baby – fertility over 40 is possible. The Bridge Centre provides fertility treatment through IVF, IVF with genetic testing or IVF with donor eggs.
Once a woman reaches 40, her chances of pregnancy decline. There are fewer eggs available in the ovaries, and their quality is reduced – as is the quality of the embryo after fertilisation.
Here at Bridge, there are a number of ways we can help with IVF over 40 and help women have a successful pregnancy:
IVF is actually a sequence of procedures in a 'treatment cycle'.
Hormone therapy is used to stimulate the development of several follicles in the ovary. These are collected as eggs, which are then fertilised in a test-tube ('in vitro') to create several embryos.
After a few days in an incubator (between two and six), the embryos are carefully checked using a well-established grading system. The best one or two are transferred through the vagina to the uterus, where they are hoped to implant to begin a pregnancy.
Success rates do decline with age, but we are happy to treat women up to the age of 45 with their own eggs, depending on consultation with one of our specialists. You should, however, bear in mind that after 44 there is a less than 5% chance of achieving a pregnancy, and around a 90% chance of miscarriage and genetic abnormalities.
IVF with genetic testing
Studies analysing the genetic and chromosome make-up of eggs and embryos have consistently found that the error rate increases with age. This is most clearly illustrated in the increasing risk of Down’s syndrome seen in older mothers.
The Bridge Centre is a leading provider of genetic testing and offers the latest techniques of aneuploidy screening by array CGH. This technology may be especially appropriate for older women and those who have already had an unsuccessful IVF cycle.
Aneuploidy screening may improve pregnancy and live birth rates, because only those embryos with normal chromosomes arrangements are selected for transfer. If all embryos are found to be abnormal, screening will enable you to make an important decision about embryo transfer and further IVF treatment.
IVF with donor eggs
Egg donation is most commonly used when the patient no longer has her own eggs. This type of infertility is often associated with older maternal age, when the ovary’s store of follicles is beginning to run out. The tell-tale signs are irregular – and even absent – periods, which are often a prelude to the menopause.
The Bridge Centre runs a range of programmes for those needing donor eggs, which include collaborations with overseas clinics where the supply of eggs is more plentiful than in the UK, and egg sharing, where eggs become available from IVF patients willing to share some of their own eggs.