Research suggests that egg quality starts to diminish greatly in women over 30. This makes it increasingly difficult for women to get pregnant, the older they get.Although it is not impossible to conceive naturally at 50+, it is very uncommon.

Some professional shave pointed out that if it is not impossible for women to get pregnant naturally in their 50s, that women in their 50s should not be denied the opportunity to have IVF or other fertility treatment.

Other professionals argue that the risks are higher with older mothers and that having an older mother is not in the best interests of the child.


What age do the NICE guidelines state for NHS funded IVF?  

The NICE guidelines in England state that women up to the age of 43 can be offered NHS funded IVF, however, the local NHS trusts can apply additional criteria, so funding depends very much on the postcode of the individual.


What are the risks associated with a higher maternal age?

Any pregnancy has elements of risk for both the mother and the child, however, the higher the maternal age, the greater the risks. Some of these risks include:

·      Gestational/pregnancy diabetes

·      Pre-eclampsia

·      Premature birth or low birth weight

·      The likelihood of expecting twins

·      Miscarriage


Can I have IVF through a private clinic when I am over 50?

The answer to this is, in some cases, yes. There is no upper age limit for IVF in private clinics. However, the clinic needs to decide based on each individual circumstance. Many will not justify treatment, because they see it as not in the best interests of the child.

As mentioned above, getting pregnant over the age of 40 brings a greater risk of health complications for both the mother and the child.


I’m over50 with a low egg reserve, can I have IVF in the UK?

If a clinic agrees to do the treatment, you can have IVF using donor eggs or eggs that you have previously had frozen. This will increase the possibility of you conceiving through IVF. You should be made aware, however, of the risks involved.


I’m over50 with a low egg reserve, can I have IVF abroad?

The guidance and age limit with IVF clinics abroad varies, depending on the country. It is important to be aware when seeking treatment abroad, that the guidelines in place may not be as stringent as in the UK and that some clinics may choose to treat clients, even if the chances are slim and the risks are high.


What will help my chances of conceiving as an older woman?

The following tips are believed to help conception and apply for all ages:

·      Eat a healthy diet

·      Avoid smoking

·      Give up alcohol

·      Cut out caffeine

·      Exercise moderately

·      Relax

·      Take folic acid

·      Try complementary treatments, such ascertain yoga poses and acupuncture, which are believed to reduce stress and increase blood flow to the reproductive organs

If you have a low egg reserve, you may be advised to use donor eggs or eggs that you have previously had frozen.


Where canI find more information about what is available to me?

Although you will not qualify for NHS funded IVF if you are over 43, you can still speak to your GP about your general medical health, your fertility and your wish to have children. They may be able to advise you about the next steps to take.

Here, at The IVF Network, we also provide a wide range of information to help and support people on their personal fertility journey. Our resources include a dedicated channel of experts, our website and our blog posts, to help you to make informed choices at every stage.