The Effect of Age on the Success of IVF

155487.jpgWhen a woman reaches her mid-30s, her chances of achieving successful pregnancy diminish with each passing year. This is true even of women who have never struggled with fertility problems, which makes age a particularly relevant issue for the 10 percent of the population who are faced with fertility issues, including those who are seeking to have children through advanced treatments such as in vitro fertilization, or IVF. Even if a couple’s difficulty in conceiving a child can primarily be attributed to male factor infertility, the age of the female partner plays a significant role at a certain point, and the closer a woman is to the age of 40, the more her age has to be taken into account as a contributing factor in the couple’s infertility.

This is why women who are aged 35 and older are generally advised to seek the counsel of an experienced fertility expert such as Laurence A. Jacobs, M.D. if they have been trying to conceive without success for six months or more. At Dr. Jacobs’ state-of-the-art fertility clinic in Chicago, IVF and age are discussed in detail during confidential consultations with patients for whom age is an issue. Dr. Jacobs wants his patients to understand both the benefits and the obstacles associated with IVF and other fertility treatments so that they know exactly what to expect before they dedicate themselves to undergoing the procedure.


Age affects a couple’s ability to conceive in approximately one-third of all cases in which the female partner is over the age of 35. This is because women in that age group generally have a smaller number of eggs in their ovarian reserve, and more importantly, those eggs that remain are often of lesser quality. When it comes to fertility, the quality of the eggs is as important as the quantity. Unfortunately, the risk of miscarriage also becomes higher among women who are 35 or older.

While the chances of successful conception through IVF treatment is lower for women over the age of 35, and becomes progressively and significantly lower for every year beyond that, modern fertility treatments still offer the best chance that many women in this age group have for starting or expanding their families. Although Dr. Jacobs is careful to screen IVF candidates and help them to establish realistic expectations for their chances of success, he encourages suitable candidates to maintain cautious optimism and hope. Where there is a chance, there is a possibility of success, as many women over the age of 35 have happily learned.

In cases in which a woman’s ovarian reserve is insufficient, Dr. Jacobs will discuss the possibility of a couple using donor eggs to carry out IVF treatment. The use of donor eggs may significantly increase the chances of success, especially among women near or over the age of 40.


If you are struggling with fertility issues and are at, near, or over the age of 35, we invite you to learn more about IVF and age by contacting the fertility practice of Laurence A. Jacobs, M.D. today.