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Huntington Reproductive Center - Blogs

The HRC Fertility Blog is a resource for patients and those seeking infertility related issues and articles. Check back often or subscribe to this blog as it is changed weekly by the HRC staff.

Fertility Treatment for Women over 40

b2ap3_thumbnail_DrNelson.JPGBy: Jeffrey Nelson, DO FACOOG


However, there is a silver lining to all of this. If you seek the help of a fertility doctor sooner than later, your chances of conceiving have never been better.  Today’s reproductive technologies are increasing the success rates for woman of all ages. There are many treatment options for woman over 40.  Below are a few options:

1Ovarian stimulation and intrauterine insemination (IUI):  Drugs known as gonadotropins are used to stimulate the ovaries to increase egg production and IUI places the sperm directly into the uterus. These procedures can boost pregnancy rates for women over 40 by 5-7%.

2. In vitro fertilization (IVF):  IVF significantly increases a woman’s chance of conceiving.  IVF is the process of surgically removing eggs and fertilizing them with sperm outside of the body. The embryo is then transferred back into the uterus. Success rates vary by age for woman over 40.

3. Donor Eggs:  Donor eggs are often needed when a woman's eggs will not fertilize and develop properly due to age, genetic abnormalities, damage from treatments such as cancer therapy, premature menopause or unexplained infertility. With egg donation, the father contributes his sperm to fertilize the donated egg to create embryos.  The embryos are then placed in the mother’s uterus and she carries the baby.  Since women over 40 have a high rate of miscarriage when using their own eggs, a good alternative is to use younger, more viable donor eggs.

4. Gestational Carrier:  This is an option for women who cannot carry a pregnancy to term for medical reasons. With a gestational carrier, the intended mother’s eggs, or donor eggs are fertilized by the male partner's sperm or donor sperm, and the resulting embryo is placed in the uterus of the gestational carrier. The gestational carrier is not related to the child genetically and gives the baby to you at birth. 

5. Prevention. Don’t wait until you’re in your 40s to seek out the help of a fertility doctor. Talk to a doctor when you are in your early 30s about the possibility of freezing your eggs for future use. Egg freezing technology has improved greatly and is allowing women to bank their youthful eggs for future use, such as when they are in their forties and ready to have a family.

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