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IVF Treatments Often Work for Women Under 35
Date:1/14/2009

But success rate is much lower for those over 40 who want a baby, study says,,

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Women under 35 who undergo six cycles of in vitro fertilization have up to an 86 percent chance of giving birth, a new study found.

But for women over 40, the odds are less than 50 percent -- in some cases, significantly less.

"IVF is a mainstay of the treatment of infertility, and it can overcome most causes of infertility for those under 40," said study senior author Dr. Alan S. Penzias, surgical director of Boston IVF, and an associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School.

But, he added, "Fertility is a function of age. It starts to decline at age 27, and the most pronounced decline is above age 40."

"Unfortunately, there's no test that shows when fertility starts to decline," said Dr. Jamie Grifo, program director for the New York University Langone Medical Center's fertility clinic, who added that this study could serve as a reminder to women to "be really thoughtful about the decisions you make about the reproductive process. Don't expect to be able to get pregnant at any time. You don't have to be pessimistic, but the older the patient, the lower the chance of success, unless a couple is willing to consider donor eggs."

The new study, published in the Jan. 15 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, looked at IVF success in a different way. Traditionally, IVF success is reported as the number of pregnancies per cycle of IVF treatment, but that doesn't let couples know the exact odds of having a pregnancy that ends up with a healthy baby. And that information is exactly what people want to know, Penzias said.

"Couples really want to figure out how likely it is that they'll have a baby if they undergo IVF," he said.

To give people a better idea of the live-birth rates, Penzias and his c
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