Health

Discover the Untold Truth: Can Older Women Embrace Motherhood Through IVF on Mother’s Day 2024?

In vitro fertilization has enhanced the likelihood of live birth, yet does its efficacy remain consistent for older women opting for IVF? On this Mother’s Day 2024, acquaint yourself with truths over misconceptions.

The Indian ART legislation permits in vitro fertilization for women up to 50 years of age. While it’s advisable to pursue pregnancy earlier, contemporary circumstances may hinder such endeavors. Nonetheless, with the progress in medical technologies, health specialists assert that IVF has emerged as a blessing for older women in their quest for conception. Furthermore, as our proficiency in obstetrics advances, physicians can adopt a more evidence-based approach towards managing pregnancies in women of advanced maternal age.

In a discourse with HT Lifestyle on Mother’s Day 2024, Dr. Arunima Haldar, Consultant in IVF and Reproductive Medicine at Manipal Hospital in Whitefield and Varthur, delineated that any woman attempting conception past 35 years is deemed to have advanced maternal age, addressing the ensuing myths with factual insights:

Myth 1: Conception is arduous at an older age.
Fact: Though not entirely unfounded, outcomes vary among individuals. Diminished egg quality and quantity, alongside asynchronous cycles, account for reduced conception rates. Nonetheless, natural conception remains feasible, especially for younger cohorts among older women. Through ultrasound monitoring and slight cycle adjustments, physicians can aid these patients. IVF may be warranted expeditiously due to the ongoing decline in egg quality and quantity, affording limited time.

Myth 2: IVF yields frequent failures.
Fact: In advanced age, it’s the egg’s quality and quantity that diminish, not the uterus or endometrium. IVF failures often stem from egg quality or aberrant chromosomal composition, rendering the embryo unsustainable. Hence, preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) is conducted to discern viable embryos, with donor eggs as an alternative when self-eggs are unsuitable. Donor eggs boast comparable success rates to younger women’s eggs. Egg freezing stands as another viable recourse frequently adopted by women delaying pregnancy.

Myth 3: Pregnancy poses risks for older women.
Fact: While not entirely baseless, not all older women encounter pregnancy complications. Common issues include preeclampsia, diabetes, heightened cesarean risk, and preterm labor. Early risk assessment, vigilant pregnancy monitoring, and adequate rest facilitate early problem detection.

Myth 4: Pregnancy jeopardizes the baby’s well-being.
Fact: Selecting genetically healthy embryos through PGS is crucial for a healthy offspring. Advanced maternal age, coupled with elevated preeclampsia and diabetes risks, may result in intrauterine growth restriction. Diligent prenatal care and rest benefit these women, albeit not all experience complications. Nevertheless, older women face heightened pregnancy complication risks.

Dr. Ila Gupta, Clinical Director and Senior Consultant in Reproductive Medicine at Ferticity IVF and Fertility Clinics in New Delhi, expounded, “Recent strides in reproductive technology have rendered motherhood feasible for women of all ages via in vitro fertilization (IVF). Notably, this advancement has augmented live birth probabilities, particularly for older women opting for IVF. Hence, dispelling prevalent IVF myths among older women is imperative.” She elucidated:

Myth: Older Women Should Forego IVF Due to Increased Birth Defect Risks
Reality: While advancing age may diminish fertility and heighten complications, IVF procedures, along with PGTA, mitigate birth defect risks. A mother’s age doesn’t inherently signify offspring complications if proper safety measures are observed. IVF also offers alternatives like self-egg freezing to preempt abnormalities or resorting to donor eggs for those lacking viable self-eggs or experiencing menopause.

Myth: IVF Invariably Results in Multiple Pregnancies
Reality: Evolving IVF protocols enable precise embryo transfer control, minimizing multiple pregnancy risks. Single blastocyst transfer reduces these risks, ensuring safer pregnancies.

Myth: IVF Guarantees Pregnancy Success
Reality: IVF success hinges on various factors, including age, embryo quality, and treatment plan. Personalized treatment plans and technological advancements bolster success rates, even for older women.

Myth: Older Women Can’t Sustain Pregnancy to Term
Reality: While advancing age complicates pregnancy, proper medical supervision enables many older women to carry pregnancies to term safely. Informed decisions, based on accurate information and realistic expectations, empower women considering IVF.

Busting IVF myths among older women is essential. Despite age-related fertility declines, IVF remains a viable option, thanks to technological advances and tailored protocols. Access to comprehensive information empowers women in making informed decisions regarding their reproductive health.

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