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Conceiving After 45: IVF With Your Own Eggs Or Donor Eggs?


Dr Ramirez,

What are the chances of a 45 year old woman conceiving using IVF with her own eggs? Would it be worth trying or would you recommend using donor eggs? A. from the UK


Hello A. from the UK,

There are always exceptions to the rule, however, the chances of pregnancy, even with IVF, are very slim.  In the 2012 National summary produced by our Centers for Disease Control (CDC), based on IVF reporting data, the national averages for women >44 years old is 5% pregnancy rate and 2% delivery rate.  This, of course, is an average and the statistics can be different for different centers.  There have been pregnancies over 44 years old but they are very few.  In my center, the oldest patient to get pregnant using her own eggs (as opposed to using donor eggs) was 44 years old.

I tell my patients that only God can determine who will be the exception to the rule, but if you don't try, then you have a 0% from the start.  However, if you decide to try, you have to go in with the understanding that your chances are slim.  Until you try, you won't know the outcome.  If you want a better chance, the donor eggs will be much better.

I have a 45 year old patient contemplating this now who is leaning toward trying at least once because she wants to reassure herself that she has done everything possible to have another child (she has one already).  I told her, and you should understand this too, that IVF is not a perfect technology even in young women, and like trying naturally, it can take several tries.  So if you want to be absolutely sure that you tried your very best with IVF, then you need to be prepared to try several times.

As to whether or not it is worth it, that is a totally individual decision.  The worthiness of something is defined by yourself.

Good Luck,

Dr. Edward J. Ramirez, M.D., FACOG

Executive Medical Director

The Fertility and Gynecology Center

Monterey Bay IVF Program 

Monterey, California, U.S.A.

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