As science advances, Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) stretches the boundaries of age, giving older women a chance to conceive as well. How? With IVF (in vitro fertilization) treatment. In our article we present the newest maximum IVF age limits in different European countries.
IVF means fertilization outside of the body and it is the most effective assisted reproduction technique. It is often used when a woman’s fallopian tubes are blocked or when a man produces too few sperm. Doctors prescribe a drug to the woman, which causes the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. Once mature, the eggs are removed and put in a dish in the lab along with the sperm for fertilization. After 3 to 5 days, healthy embryos are implanted in the uterus.
Of course, it is not a given that IVF will result in a successful pregnancy, but the overall success rate of the technique is around 30-40% worldwide. Factors such as the age of the partners, the cause of infertility, whether eggs are fresh or frozen, and the right choice of doctor and clinic play an important role.
So, who decides what the age limit will be and how? Usually, this limit varies between countries and genders, and you should visit each country’s national health system website to learn more. “Advanced reproductive age” for women is usually considered 37 and above. As a woman ages, their egg quality and quantity diminish so fewer eggs become available for maturation. Also, her egg quality reduces the chances of successful treatment. There is also a higher chance that treatments will end in a miscarriage.
“Advanced reproductive age” for men is largely considered 40 and above. Unlike women whose egg quality diminishes as they get older, men never stop producing sperm, except in cases of disease or structural damage. This is why many countries do not attempt to impose an age limit for IVF treatment for men.
NHS has suggested 42 as the maximum age while trying IVF, however, this was only a recommendation. In the private sector, there is no legally set upper age limit. Clinics can use their discretion with due consideration to the regulatory body, the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA). It is not unusual for clinics to treat women into their late 40’s but invariably this is with the use of donor eggs.
Spanish clinics suggest the age of 50 for the limit of IVF, but some of them may accept women until 52 years old if they meet some specific criteria.
The legal limit for women who undergo fertility treatments is 49 years of age, therefore patients should be no older than 48 years and 364 days on the day of embryo transfer.
There is no specific legislation in place in Cyprus regarding medically assisted reproduction. It is generally considered that the upper age limit for treatment is 45 but this can be increased to the age of 55 in some circumstances, only if you prove yourself to be “medically fit”.
There is no legal age limit for IVF treatment in Ukraine. However, it is usual that no access to treatment is allowed over the age of 51 years due to potential health problems.
There is a legal age limit for IVF treatment of 50 years old, but some clinics treat women older than this at their own risk.
The Estonian law states that women up to the age of 50 can undergo IVF treatment.
Greece recently changed the IVF maximum age limit from 52 to 54 years old (new government act on May 2022), something that gives more opportunities to older women, especially now that traveling abroad is not restricted anymore. In particular, women have to be up to 53 ½ years old, as they should be no more than 54 exactly on the day of their embryo transfer.
IVF success rate in our country is around 55%, and it also offers some other privileges that you should take into account when looking for your IVF destination! Anonymity law for Egg and Sperm Donation protects donors’ privacy, therefore more are willing to donate. As a result, there is virtually no waiting list for egg or sperm donation treatment. This, along with the low cost of treatment, makes Greece one of the most popular places for people seeking egg donation abroad. Also, same-sex couples treatment can be accommodated, as long as one partner signs a notarial deed saying that she is going through as a single woman with the use of donor sperm. In other countries, this option is not available.
Greece is very advanced in medical research and innovation. A new revolutionary fertility treatment has been introduced recently, Ovarian Rejuvenation Therapy. The treatment that rejuvenates ovaries, achieves pregnancy after menopause, and reverses Premature Ovarian Failure (POF) naturally, is the one that many women search for and undergo in our country. As for the price rates, Greece takes pride in having some of the most affordable fertility treatments, always by having some of the best quality doctors and clinics. For instance, an IVF cycle in the UK may cost around 5000 euros and in Greece around 3000 euros.
Don’t let anyone tell you that you are too old to conceive, your body is your temple, treat it with care and respect, explore your options, and make your decisions accordingly.
MEDIPASS will be there to help you throughout your whole fertility journey, a journey you should not do alone. Fertility is not a product, so let’s make this the norm!
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