Diet & Nutrition

Experts call for egg donation transparency as IVF deemed a zero success rate for women over 45

“It’s almost a fight that’s lost before the patient comes to see us in their mid to late forties.”

As a new report reveals there’s been very little progress made on increasing the birth rate from IVF insemination in older women, experts have urged those struggling – and succeeding – with fertility in their forties to talk more openly about it.

The University of NSW’s new report on assisted reproductive technology says there is only one delivery for every 80 fresh IVF cycles in women over 45 compared to one in every four fresh IVF cycles in women aged between 25 and 34.

“It’s almost a fight that’s lost before the patient comes to see us in their mid to late forties,” UNSW Professor Michael Chapman told the Australian Financial Review.

And while the reality for women over forty seems dire, the success stories often come from women who have used younger donor eggs, however the transparency isn’t there in the conversation, Fertility Society of Australia president Mark Bowman tells the AFR.

“When a woman's using her own eggs, the pregnancy rate becomes very low as a woman approaches her mid-40s and is effectively zero by 45. And that is really corrected by the use of younger donated eggs," said Mr Bowman.

"The social challenge we as clinicians have is that there is a significant number of women who fail to declare they have conceived from egg donation.

"And they announce pregnancy in their late-40s – much to the excitement of publishing journalists and glossy pictures that are attached – but fail to usually declare this is not actually using their own eggs, and you can understand their personal reasons for not disclosing it."

Mornings Co-Host Sonia Kruger made headlines in 2014 when she announced her pregnancy at the age of 49, revealing she and her partner, Craig McPherson, used a donor egg from a friend.

"I want to be really open with people about the fact it is an egg donor baby because we occasionally see in the media women over the age of 40 falling pregnant and having babies,” Kruger told The Weekly at the time.

“And I know from personal experience that you can be lulled into a false sense of security, believing you can put off motherhood and fall pregnant when you want to. But it's not true. At least, it wasn't for me."

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