Fertility Network UK
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Just wondering what people think about 40-42 year old women being offered IVF

I know not every pct will offer IVF to women aged between 40-42, and I guess it will still pretty much be a postcode lottery as per usual, but I just wanted to know what people think.

If couples' have been ttc with no luck then I see no reason why they shouldn't get some sort of help.

I've seen many good and bad comments on different sites about this, but I reckon it can only be a good thing.

10 Replies

will be interesting to see what people think of this - I just want to clarify in case anyone isn't aware that women aged 40-42 will only be offered one cycle provided that they have not previously had treatment, there is no indication of low ovarian reserve and there has been a discussion of the additional implications of IVF and pregnancy at this age.. So it's not a straight 'everyone up to 42' as some of the press have reported


The press seem to be having a field day about this and as usual they're not telling the full story, rather they seem to be printing information they think will sell the papers etc. Perhaps I'm too cynical about the press!

I wasn't aware they would only be offered 1 cycle, but I guess it's better than nothing and hopefully some women will benefit from it.


The reason the public funding wasn't provided previously was becuase of the clinical evidence of the likelihood of success. It is very tough when it doesn't work, and if the chances are very low, it might be better to focus limited resources on those that have a greater chance of success (a bit akin to other treatments that have previously been age related). Those undergoing the treatment at that age need to be very realistic on the level of success and I wonder if this is going to provide false optimism. Has the clinical evidence changed to such an extent that this is no longer true and results have improved? If that has, then that is great, but as the eggs decline at the same rate, then some improvement in technique is needed, but if the quality of embryo is still low, then the results will be poor.

I also wonder in a time of limited budgets whether more people will also come up against the issue many of us have had that local decisions ignore the guidelines, in which case the change is next to useless.


I think you bring up some very valid points there. I'm sure local pct's will have their own say on whether or not they will offer certain women aged 40-42 IVF treatment, and I'm sure as you say, the change will be next to useless, which is a real shame, but probably a very realistic way of looking at it.


I hadn't seen Susan's post before writing this. So it does look there is some risk-base applied. However, if you are going for IVF, I do think you need to be prepared that to achieve success, you are on average going to need 3 cycles, therefore, should be prepared for that, so you might be wanting to put in place self-funding options. Or, go for the one-cycle but be very aware of the likelihood of success and prepare yourself for this.

I wish there was more funding available. I was only given 1 funded cycle, despite starting this journey at 29, and so had to fund 2 cycles on my own.

Another option could be some sort of means testing? To provide more support to those less able to be able to self fund?

Something doesn't seem fair, and my preference would be first to remove the postcode lottery, but the government seem to be moving further towards that position rather than away. I would then make funding available on a risk (chance of success) based approach i.e. age based, and then means tested.


And my final point, this is a medical issue that should be treated if we have the means to treat based on clinical results only, and is nothing about lifestyle or moral positions.


Does it also mean then that if you start your treatment at the age of 39.5 and 3 cycles would run over your 40th birthday, then you would be able to continue? This is not clear to me and I'm sure it's an issue faced by others. It's something I'm facing at the moment as I'll be 40 in July and am waiting for an appt at the moment at fertility centre.


I'm not sure about this one, I guess it may depend on when it comes into effect. Perhaps someone at the fertility centre may be able to help you with this, or someone on here?

I have my fingers crossed for you that all works in your favour.


Louie - decisions are made locally, so you will need to check with your PCT/funder as to whether they would. I would hope it would, but Susan has pointed out some of the additional requirements anyway. PCTs have detailed criteria (should be on the website), to change their criteria, they would need to review and update this criteria, so this may build in a lag for those who are due to implement, as they will need to have internal discussions/agreement as to whether to apply these updated guidelines. The issue for Fertility treatment is it is just guidance, and most PCTs are only offering 1 cycle at this time.

Of course, IVF will still available, but the cost would fall on you.

Good luck.


I think it is good that they have extended the age limit. Unfortunately it is not extended enough for me ( am 45). I don't think IVF is for me anyway, as I still hope to conceive naturally, but it is helpful that there is recognition that people over 40 do want to start families and that they now have a greater choice.

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