At Merrion Fertility Clinic, we have an upper age limit for female patients seeking treatments such as IVF or ICSI using their own eggs. We know this may be disappointing for you. Below, we outline why we have upper limits on age in place. You may wish to contact other fertility clinics in Ireland or abroad that may have higher “cut-off” ages for female patients.
Fertility starts to reduce after the age of 30, and this reduction happens faster after the age of 35. By the age of 43 or 44, most women’s eggs will be of poor quality, and while possible, it is very rare to get pregnant.
The reason for the reduced fertility is two-fold. The first reason is related to the fact that poorer quality, older eggs are less likely to lead to pregnancy. Even if they do, the chance of miscarriage is increased in older women, because things are more likely to go wrong with older eggs. The chance of genetic or chromosomal abnormalities rises significantly over the age of 40.
Age can also increase the risk of certain complications during pregnancy. This includes miscarriage, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes or having a baby with a chromosomal abnormality.
Many people assume that IVF and other fertility technologies can overcome the effect of age on female fertility. Unfortunately, this is only partly true. Even with IVF, the age of the woman has a significant effect.
Data from the UK (2021, preliminary data) shows that the percentage of IVF treatments that resulted in a live birth were:
- 33% for women under 35
- 25% for women aged 35 to 37
- 17% for women aged 38 to 39
- 10% for women aged 40 to 42
- 4% for women aged 43 and over
On the odd occasion, we also receive referrals for male patients over the cut-off age. If they select one of the following:
- Fertility check (Heterosexual couple)
The female and male date of birth must be entered. If their date of birth is >62, they receive the message below.
Men can conceive at an older age, but evidence shows that male age is also important. Research in the UK (2000) found that men older than 40 years were 30% less likely to father a child than men younger than 30 years.
In men, sperm quality and fertility start to decline around the age of 40 and IVF success rates also decline as men get older.
There is also evidence of increased miscarriage rates as men age and increased risks of foetal abnormalities, particularly neurological issues such as autism spectrum disorders and bipolar disorders.
At Merrion Fertility Clinic, our upper age limit for male patients is also influenced by our belief that the potential child’s interests are best served by having a father likely to live for at least their first 18 years.
You may wish to contact other fertility clinics in Ireland or abroad that may have higher “cut-off” ages for male patients.