Women over 40 lead surge in demand for IVF - Independent
"The fortysomethings are the fastest-growing group of patients seeking IVF, up from less than 1,000 in 1991 to more than 6,000 in 2006.
Demand for IVF has soared for all age groups in the past decade, with almost 40,000 cycles of treatment provided in 2006. Forty-plus women have led the surge, rising from 10 per cent of all cycles in 2000 to more than 15 per cent in 2006.
Experts said the trend was a consequence of the social pressures on women to delay starting a family while establishing their careers and growing awareness of the potential of fertility treatment. But they warned that many older women faced having their hopes dashed as success rates for IVF declined sharply with advancing years.
The figures also reveal rising demand from single and lesbian women. Cycles of treatment provided to single women increased from 600 in 1999 to more than 1,200 in 2006. The number of treatment cycles for lesbian couples rose from 300 to almost 1,000 in the same period.
Medical advances and improvements in technique have seen success rates for treatment increase dramatically. The overall live birth rate has risenfrom 14 per cent per cycle of treatment in 1991, to 21 per cent in 2006. The success rates are even higher for women under the age of 35 with more than one in four becoming pregnant at the first attempt. But the rates fall sharply after women pass the age of 35, declining to 12 per cent at age 40.
Moreover, the over-40s have not seen the improvement in live birth rates experienced by younger women. Success rates have improved only slightly over the past 15 years as doctors have run up against the barrier of female biological clock. After the age of 43, more than 95 per cent of patients treated return home childless."
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