A new study has found that the chances of women giving birth after 38 drops significantly and doctors are urging women to either start families earlier or freeze their eggs.
The report, presented at the European Society of Human Reproduction’s annual conference in Lisbon, said that women should freeze their eggs before 35 for future use and women over 44 should use donor eggs if undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments.
“Women should be encouraged to have families earlier but if you can’t change society then we should encourage them to freeze their eggs by 35,” said lead researcher Dr. Marta Devesa.
The 12-year study, conducted at Barcelona’s Hospital Universitaro Quiron-Dexeus, is the largest study of it’s kind. The study analyzed birth rates of over 4,000 women between the ages of 38 and 44, who underwent nearly 6,000 IVF cycles. The age demographic chosen for the study represents the growing proportion of patients who undergo IVF treatments.
Overall, the study found that between the ages of 38 and 39, women have a 24 percent chance of having a baby through IVF. The chances drop significantly over the next six years, with women between 40-41 having a 15.6 percent, between 42-43 a 6.6 per ent and women over 44 with a 1.3 percent. After the age of 44, researchers say that attempts at conceiving through IVF are “futile”.
Fertility experts say that women should be more informed about their fertility and that stories of celebrities starting families later in life may be to blame for women putting off pregnancy.
“There is always a strong possibility that many of these celebrities may well have sought the help of assistance in a fertility clinic and may have conceived either with IVF or donor eggs,” said Adam Balen, chair of the British Fertility Society, to the Telegraph.
While we can understand that this is a serious issue that many women face, we can’t get behind the alarmist notion that women everywhere should be rushing out to start their families, possibly before they are actually ready to do so.
When did you start your family? Would you ever consider freezing your eggs?