How old is too old to try IVF ?

Pregnant womanWith stories of 45 year celebrities having babies (and sometimes even twins and triplets) with high tech treatments, most people think that age is not a barrier to successful treatment.  When using donor eggs from a young egg donor, that is definitely true. The chances for success with donor egg ivf is excellent, even for women in their late 40’s. However that is not the case in women using their own eggs. Pregnancies in women undergoing fertility treatment without the use of a donor over 45 are very unusual.  A recent report from Florida describes a 46 year old woman who is reported to be oldest woman to conceive from IVF with her own eggs. Is this a major breakthrough? Not really. The main determinant over whether a fertilized egg will develop into a healthy baby is whether the embryo is genetically abnormal. Genetically normal embryos are common in 25 year olds but pregnancy rates are never 100%. Likewise, the vast majority of  45 year olds’ embryos are abnormal, and so the pregnancy rates would be expected to be quite low but not exactly 0%. When confronted with these odds, most couples would chose not to try.

Coenzyme Q-10 and fertility

 

Co enzyme Q10

Co enzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q-10 is a naturally occurring chemical found in the parts of the cells (mainly the mitochondria) that produce energy, and is thought by some to be helpful for certain diseases such as cancer, heart disease and some neurologic diseases.   A recent study suggests that using Coenzyme Q-10 as part of IVF (In vitro fertilization) may increase the percentage of embryos that are genetically normal. We know that genetically abnormal embryos (which is actually most embryos transferred) explain most IVF failures and miscarriages, so anything that might increase the number of generically normal embryos may improve a couple’s odds for success.  A word of caution: this study is too small to draw any conclusions. Further research is needed to determine if Coenzyme Q10 is effective or not.