A study that appeared earlier this month from a Belgian fertility clinic found age 38 to be a sort of tipping point for women, on average, when it comes to their chances of giving birth after a round of intracytoplasmic sperm injection, or ICSI, in which a single sperm is injected into a mature egg to fertilize the egg. The number of eggs retrieved was influential as well, not surprisingly; the odds of a happy outcome went up when 11 or more eggs were retrieved after a woman’s ovaries had been stimulated to produce more eggs using drugs.
In their study the scientists looked at over 23,000 ovarian-stimulation cycles and found that until they reached the age of 37, the women in their research had similar rates of pregnancy loss, whether due to very early spontaneous abortion or miscarriage. But between the ages of 38 and 40 those rates doubled in some cases, and nearly doubled in others, and between the ages of 41 and 43 the rates were much higher again, peaking at a overall pregnancy loss of nearly 57% in women in their early 40s.
As a bit of a side note, the researchers also saw that rates of ectopic pregnancy – in which a fertilized egg implants outside a woman’s uterus, usually in the fallopian tube, and which can lead to very serious health complications – was not related to a woman’s age, which the scientists found to be “reassuring news for women undergoing fertility treatment.”
Have you tried ICSI?