Tuesday, May 21, 2024

IVF Over 50 For Older Women

IVF treatment for Women over 50 at North Cyprus IVF

Making a patient happy cannot only be measured in terms of a positive or a negative pregnancy test result. It involves much more than a mere test result. It involves effective communication, high quality of care and empathy- latter being a key aspect of delivering what the patient wants and needs, rather than what the doctor thinks what’s best for the patient.
While sometimes it might be impossible to fulfill patients’ requests due to legal limitations and/or ethical considerations, an open line of communication can bring patients and their medical team to a mutually acceptable arrangement.
Age is one of the factors that create a diversion between IVF laws and fertility clinics’ approaches. In most fertility clinics, there exists either a legal or an artificial age limit that precludes women from receiving fertility treatments beyond a certain age.

While in some countries/clinics this may be as low as 42, in some it can go as high as 50 years of biological age. Most of the age-related arguments are due to ethical considerations that cannot be justified via medical reasoning. At North Cyprus IVF Centre, our patient-centered orientation remains unchanged when it comes to the issue of age limit. We have always advocated for eliminating the “age barrier” in fertility treatments on the grounds of “ethical considerations”. Ethical considerations tend to be very open-ended, especially in this day and age. However, too many ideas and opinions can sometimes blur the big picture: Fertility treatments are a medical procedure and should be treated as such. As long as there is sound medical evidence that a woman is healthy and fit for a pregnancy, she should be allowed to be pregnant and have her own child.

Ovarian Function and Fitness for Pregnancy

Just a few weeks after the first trimester has been finalized, the reproductive system of a female fetus will have been completely formed, including her lifetime reserve of eggs, which is slightly less than 10 million eggs to be more accurate. However, starting with puberty, the reserves will begin to decline very sharply with each menstrual cycle. By the time a woman reaches thirty years of age, she will only have 10% of her eggs remaining in her reserves! At the age of 40, she will have lost 97% of all her reserves, which is why women over the age of 40 will have a difficult time achieving and/or maintaining pregnancy with their own eggs. However, while a woman’s eggs have an expiration date, the uterus, or where a fertilized egg will attach and grow, will remain perfectly capable of performing its task, making pregnancy in older ages a possibility- just not with own eggs- Nevertheless, our recent clinical work based on prior research does show that pregnancy with own eggs can be possible, even after menopause. We will discuss this in more length in later paragraphs.

People are now healthier and life expectancy is at an all time high where a European woman is expected to live up to 82-83 years of age, on average. With advancements in the field of medicine, people live healthier lives and they can more easily manage many health conditions that might come with age. Current evidence with “Over 50” pregnancies do not point to any justified concerns over the health of the mother. Furthermore, the standard health concerns over the baby with regards to genetic problems or other age related problems are being eliminated by using the eggs of a young and healthy egg donor in most cases. Essentially, menopause is no longer a limiting factor on a woman’s fertility, therefore, it should be dissociated from it, just like it has been for younger women with premature menopause. Just like fertility clinics are offering treatment for younger menopausal women, they should also not deny this to healthy older women who are found fit for pregnancy.

IVF pregnancy over 45 and 50 years of age

At North Cyprus IVF Centre, we are happy to offer fertility treatments to women over 50 years of age at our own initiative. We have recently been granted this initiative by the ministry of health in Northern Cyprus and we can now legally provide assistance to all women who are medically fit for pregnancy. However, we do not want to create any room for misinterpretation. We have been advocating for elimination of the age barriers not because we intend to offer treatment to anyone demanding, but rather to eradicate discrimination based on age. While it is true that age can bring with it medical problems that can cause concern over pregnancy, there are many medical problems with younger people that should also be a cause for concern. It is not the age limit that solves this problem. It is the judgment of an able physician, who will decide after carefully reviewing the important medical information and decide accordingly whether a patient is fit for pregnancy or not.

At North Cyprus IVF Centre, the following ground rules have been established when offering fertility treatment to patients over 50 years of age:
-Patients should undergo certain tests to screen for CBC, kidney and liver functions as well as hormone testing. If test results indicate to a problem, then further testing will be required. If there seems to be a problem that can be exacerbated by a pregnancy, then pregnancy should be avoided altogether.

-Patients should undergo a standard cardiovascular check-up to make sure they do not have a heart condition that might jeopardize own health during a pregnancy. A standard electrocardiogram is the test of our choice. At the end of the day, our main concern is over your own health before considering fertility treatments.

-Patients should undergo screening for standard problems that predominantly come with age such as blood glucose level, blood pressure level as well as cholesterol levels. These are mostly age-related problems, therefore, should be screened not just during a pregnancy.

-Patients should be made aware that older age brackets are more prone to pregnancy complications, therefore, need to be informed about the importance of frequent health screening while pregnant. Both ultrasound scans for monitoring the baby, and health screenings to monitor patients’ own health should be an important part of the pregnancy.

While we believe that age should not be a form of discrimination against women who would like to mother a child, it is not our intention to cause health problems that can jeopardize our patients’ overall well-being. This is where medical judgment comes into the picture. It should also be known that certain health conditions are too prevalent in certain age brackets and considering the likelihoods and likely outcomes, there will be a natural age barrier to pregnancy.

Which Fertility Treatment Options Are Available for Women over 50?

While being over 50 years of age suggests that a woman has either entered menopause or is peri-menopausal, with recent advancements in reproductive medicine, North Cyprus IVF Center offers a few alternatives when it comes to fertility treatments over 50. Below are the two options that can be offered to women whose ovarian reserves have been depleted either prematurely or via menopause:

1- Ovarian PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) Application for Ovarian Rejuvenation: This is a brand new treatment option we have adopted in 2017 based on the research of Harvard scientists. Research and clinical trials have shown that injecting the specific regions of a woman’s ovaries with their own platelet rich plasma can possibly trigger the germ cell line to stimulate oocyte production. In the short time we have been offering this treatment, we have seen an increase in AMH levels of menopausal women to pre-menopausal levels and we have seen many women starting to have menstrual periods again. While this treatment option is rather new and still exploratory, preliminary results are very promising and the procedure itself does not possess any major side effects. You can learn more about our “Ovarian Rejuvenation via PRP“.

2- IVF treatment using Donor Eggs is still the gold standard of fertility treatments when it comes to treatment for women over 50 years of age. With donor egg IVF treatment, you are matched with a pregnancy proven egg donor based on your own specifications such as physical attributes, education, occupation, blood types etc. Use the following link for more information about “IVF with Donor Eggs” in Cyprus.

For more information on our treatments, please contact us!

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