Older couples and IVF
Beginning the IVF process can be daunting for anyone, even just making the decision that it’s definitely the right decision for you. It’s fair to say that most of the time it’s fertility problems that have led to this path being taken, some of which may have taken years to diagnose, meaning a longer journey to pregnancy that you would have anticipated. There are other reasons of course, including whether you need an egg donor, and/or a sperm donor, for the best chances of success.
For older couples embarking on their IVF journey, there are often concerns that go along with it, such as the straightforward – am I simply too old? Are my chances of becoming pregnant actually a reality, or is it looking very unlikely? IVF can be a costly process so it’s only natural that affordability comes into the equation.
The Cyprus IVF Centre welcomes lots of patients who are looking to start a family later on in life. Delaying parenthood is something that’s very common these days, lots of people prefer to have an established career before they have children, and more security in life, whether that’s owning a house or having substantial savings. It’s quickly becoming the norm to see patients in their thirties seeking treatment than it is to see people in their twenties, and this has meant that we have developed comprehensive treatment paths specifically for older patients because they face different challenges, such as being more likely to need donor eggs. Sperm health is also a very important factor because quality declines with age. Plus, there are sometimes complications from previous relationships – having had a vasectomy for example. The good news is that most older couples can be treated, even if they need both egg and sperm donors, and this is a guide to what assessments might be done, and what your treatment options are going to be.
Fertility testing for older men.
This is a far simpler process than it is for women, because it’s only the sperm that need to be assessed. Semen will be analysed carefully under a microscope, which shows what the sperm count is, along with other important information, such as its shape, volume and movement – all of which affect fertility. If there are previous fertility issues, then these will need to be looked at too. Having had a vasectomy is a common barrier to overcome, but we also treat patients with other issues, like retrograde ejaculation, for example. After these tests have been run, we are able to have a more detailed discussion with the patient to make sure that we have the best possible chance of getting viable sperm that can be used in treatment.
Fertility testing for older women.
There are a lot more angles to cover with women, but we have comprehensive testing available to not only evaluate these angles, but also to allow us to decide what the best course of action might be and to give a tailored and personalised treatment plan. The things we look at in older women are:
- Hormone levels. Being in the normal range of hormone levels is crucial for having a successful pregnancy.
- Ovarian reserve, i.e. how many eggs you have left. If the numbers are too low, then you might be advised to use donor eggs.
- Your age. The facts are that older women will usually find it more difficult to get pregnant, but that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. Fertility generally declines with age for both men and women, but we have treatment strategies designed to overcome this problem.
The results of these tests help to give a bigger picture as to what’s going on, which in turn allows us to give the best possible treatment to our patients.
If your age falls into the higher bracket, normally 45 and over, then we do strongly recommend using donor eggs to have the best chances of success. But it’s not always the case and you may well be able to use your own eggs. Counselling will always be offered, whatever the situation, so you can talk through your options and thoughts with our expert IVF coordinators.
Embryo Genetic testing is something that’s really important because older women have a higher chance of chromosome abnormalities. Our Pre-implantation Genetic Screening (PGD) option checks that the embryos have the correct chromosome numbers before being transferred. It also shows which of the embryos are of the highest quality, so you have the best chances of successful treatment with higher possibility of implantation.
If you do decide to use donor eggs and/or sperm, then you can be absolutely sure that you’ll get the very highest quality of each because we do rigorous testing; only those with the highest quality of sperm or eggs will be allowed to donate.
The Cyprus IVF Centre has a highly qualified and experienced team who will already be well versed in treatment for older couples, so you can have confidence in the quality of your care – whatever you might need. We are here for the duration of the process, right from the very first enquiry that you make, all the way through to the conclusion of your IVF treatment, so you need never feel alone, and we’re on hand to answer any questions that you might have. We are a friendly clinic and we forge good relationships with all of our patients, regardless of how much fertility help they might need.
If you’re part an older couple and you’re not sure of the IVF process, or what it might mean for you, then send an email, or give us a call, and we’ll be delighted to get back to you with some more information.