From the age of around 30, egg quality, the main determinant of achieving pregnancy, begins to decline and by the time a woman reaches 50, it is near impossible to get pregnant naturally. Whilst many countries and treatment providers impose a strict legal age limit for those women seeking fertility treatments, IVF at 50 is not an impossibility. This article examines the pros and cons of IVF for older mothers including success rates, pregnancy risks, and treatment options.
IVF over 50 – is it possible?
Scientific and medical advancements attempt to make the impossible achievable and it is no different with fertility treatments. Being 50 and pregnant is certainly not common but it is naturally possible in an exceptionally small number of cases and fertility experts, with increasingly sophisticated and successful fertility treatments at their disposal mean that IVF at 50 or older is no longer impossible. There are obviously a number of pregnancy risks which come with IVF with older mothers which we discuss later in this article but for many women who have not found a partner or delayed a pregnancy because of career motives, it is now possible to find a fertility clinic who will offer you IVF treatment.
Can a 50-year-old woman get pregnant naturally?
Every woman is born with a finite number of eggs and through the natural processes of ovulation and ageing this number steadily decreases over time which in turn impacts our fertility. The ability of the ovaries to maintain their reproductive potential is also affected by genetic abnormalities, injury or some medical treatments. Therefore, the ability of a 50-year-old patient to achieve a natural pregnancy is reliant on a number of factors including general health conditions. It is, however, possible for a healthy 50-year-old patient who hasn’t reached menopause to get pregnant naturally, in principle.
IVF over 50 – everything you need to know
For many, the benefits of having a child at a more advanced age outweigh any associated health problems. At 50, you may well be more financially stable, you might have achieved your personal and career goals and be ready psychologically and practically to start a family. Equally, you may have met a partner later in life. The reasons for considering a later pregnancy are numerous.
What are those pregnancy risks associated with advanced age? Well, to mention a few, there are risks of high blood pressure leading to preeclampsia, diabetes and a raised incidence of miscarriage. In addition, the later in life you have a baby, there is a higher risk of them experiencing birth defects, learning disabilities, low birth weight and chromosome related conditions like Down syndrome.
A natural pregnancy in your 50s is therefore possible in a very small number of cases depending upon your health (physical and psychological) but there are both positive and negative considerations to take into account.IVF over 50 Clinics List
IVF at 50 with own eggs
Achieving a successful pregnancy with IVF at 50 with own eggs is extremely challenging; in fact, many professionals would argue that a conservative success rate would stand at around 1%. Whilst age is a very important contributory factor to success rates it should be remembered that each patient is different. Success will not only depend upon the individual health of the patient but the experience and skill of the medical and scientific teams responsible for the treatment as well as the technology employed. If you are considering the possibility of IVF at 50 you should seek independent advice from a fertility specialist and undertake health screenings before committing to treatment.
- IVF Calculators – do they help to understand IVF success rates?
- IVF Success Rates – myths and figures revealed
IVF at 50 with own eggs – best clinics and costs
In some countries, there is a strict legal age limit for patients receiving fertility treatment. For instance, in Greece, the law states that IVF for older women is limited to those up until the age of 54 and women aged 50-54 require additional qualification. Other countries offer the same guidance but this is not backed by specific legislation. In the UK, for instance, private clinics will consider treatment on an individual basis but are very explicit in explaining that success rates using your own eggs are very low at the age of 50.
There are a limited number of countries that will treat women aged 50 and over using their own eggs and these include North Cyprus, Latvia, Russia and the United States. Within these countries, the official line is that whilst it is not advisable to offer treatments to all women over 50 there is some flexibility within the system which allows clinics to make clinical decisions based on an individual patient basis.
The cost of treatment is not age-dependent per se but many clinics will recommend additional health screenings and hormone testing for patients in their 50s to rule out potential health problems associated with IVF for older mothers. These additional tests come at a price and bearing in mind the low success rates for IVF for women over 50 using their own eggs it is likely that you will require a number of cycles. The result, therefore, is IVF treatment for those women over 50 wanting to use their own eggs can be an expensive process.
As a rule of thumb those countries mentioned in this section offer IVF treatments that are lower in price than the average offered in Central Europe or the UK with the exception of the United States where prices are considerably higher.
IVF over 50 with donor eggs
Many professional bodies including the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) recommend that clinics should only treat ‘healthy’ women over the age of 50. However what constitutes ‘healthy’ appears to be up for discussion (does it take into account, BMI, cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, diabetes, or hypertension for instance) so clinics appear to have to use their discretion on an individual basis.
IVF donor egg success rates are much higher than treatments using the eggs of patients in their 50s. Medical and scientific consensus suggests that rates jump from an average of 1% when using own eggs to approximately 60% when donor eggs are used.
As IVF treatment for those in their 50’s is not strictly (legally) prohibited in the majority of countries there is the possibility of accessing donor treatment in a number of countries as long as the clinics are satisfied with your physical and mental health – some clinics, for instance, will recommend counselling to sit alongside any donor treatment you seek.
The advice for any woman over the age of 50 who wants to undergo IVF with donor eggs is to seek advice early and where possible obtain a general health check prior to contacting clinics.IVF over 50 Clinics List
- IVF over 50 in Ukraine – Life begins again after 50
- Donor egg IVF success rates – the truth clinics don’t tell you
- The Good Fight – IVF and egg donation in Spain
IVF over 50 with donor eggs – best clinics and costs
There are a number of countries that explicitly say that they will consider treating women over 50 when using donor eggs. These countries include Greece, North Cyprus, Latvia, Russia and the United States whilst in others individual clinics will have their own policies and practices like the UK. It is recommended therefore that you spend some time seeking independent advice or contacting clinics in a number of countries to evaluate your options.
Actual treatment costs associated with the use of donor eggs are the same regardless of age but you may be required to undergo additional health screenings or tests to rule out any health problems.
Many types of treatment attract various ‘guarantee programmes’ and ‘refund’’ schemes which offer financial help with the cost. However, these schemes operate strict eligibility criteria and it is very likely that due to the lower success rates achieved by IVF for older patients these will be inaccessible.
IVF over 50 with donor embryos or/and sperm
There are both embryo and sperm donation programmes offered across the majority of European countries with certain exceptions such as Germany, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. Access is dependent upon country legislation, donor availability, the extent of consent originally given by the donor and individual clinic policy.
If you are considering this route for treatment you will also need to be mindful of different countries’ attitudes to treatment based on a patient’s relationship status. For instance, in countries such as the UK, Greece, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, and North Cyprus this is not relevant but others like Poland and the Czech Republic do not offer embryo donation programmes to single women or to couples in the same sex relationship, regardless of age.
Success rates for treatments using donor embryos or/and sperm are amongst the highest available. The caveat based on age however still applies – when searching for treatment options check to see what criteria clinics assess whether patients are sufficiently ‘healthy’ to undergo treatment if they are in their 50s.
IVF over 50 with donor embryos – best clinics and costs
Prices for donor embryo treatment vary considerably so do your research if you are considering this route. It is certainly an option in a number of countries where there is some flexibility regarding treatment eligibility. Remember also that some countries offer donor anonymity whilst others do not (including Austria, Croatia, Finland, Malta and the U.K.).
As stated previously, as a 50-year-old patient you won’t be able to access many ‘pregnancy guarantee’ programmes as these are primarily aimed at younger patients. Many individual clinics, however, do offer bespoke treatment packages so it is an idea to check before you commit to a specific treatment pathway.
Costs for donor embryo treatment in Europe vary between 1,400 Euros (e.g., Czech Republic) to countries like Spain where treatments can cost up to 3,500 Euros.
IVF over 50 best clinics
|IVF Clinic for patients over 50||Country||Maximum woman age for IVF||Example review|
|Spain||up to 53 years old||Simply fantastic! Five stars are also few in my opinion. After five years of searching for a pregnancy without getting results, and several cycles of MAP in Italy, with them we saw our first positive, an immense joy! Very good the very prepared Doctor who has chosen the most suitable therapy for me who have several hormonal problems, not easy to manage.
Nicholas, Erika and Stefania are unique, not only for their professionalism but also and above all for their humanity. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic I found myself in a complicated situation but they were able to manage everything in the best possible way both bureaucratically and morally with great affection. What can I say ... a clinic that makes the difference, that follows you before, during and after. As already said by other couples, in this clinic you are not a number but a person with a dream to fulfill.
Many thanks from our hearts
---Stefania and Raffaele
|Spain||up to 51 years old||Thanks to this Institute, to the professionalism, understanding and humanity of Dr. Milani and all the staff who followed us, we were able to realize our greatest dream.
|Spain||up to 51 years old||I can’t praise this place enough. All the staff were very professional and caring and after 3 unsuccessful attempts of IVF in the U.K. on our 4th cycle we now have beautiful baby twin girls. They are the light of our lives! We used donor eggs due to my age (40s) but I would recommend them whatever treatment you have. They rigorously test any issues you may have and ensure that you are in the best of health to maximise your chances of conceiving. I found the service to be of high quality and I felt comfortable throughout the whole process particularly as you are assigned a rep that sees you all the way through with care and sensitivity, answers any questions you have and genuinely roots for you. Thanks particularly to Virginia A and Dr Cirillo but the operating staff, embryologists and donor egg dept were amazing too! Thank you!
---Angel Rose. Hay
|Dunya IVF Center|
|North Cyprus||up to 55 years old||We cannot recommend Dunya IVF Highly enough. Dr Berk is just amazing and is my absolute Hero! after only one round of IVF I am now 16 weeks pregnant he has made our dream come true and will never be able to thank him enough. Also Harriette the UK Co-ordinator was brilliant and couldn't do enough for us and always there to answer any questions day or night, Harriette is a real credit to the company. Dunya IVF are very professional and also caring at the same time. Thank you everyone at Dunya... Claire & Frank x
|Reproduction Center "Parens-Ukraine"|
|Ukraine||up to 51 years old||I did a lot of research about IVF in Ukraine and I was looking for personalized clinic with good success rates where I would feel confidence and warmth. And I did. I highly recommend Parens Ukraine clinic for people who seek IVF with egg donation! I had multiple failed IVF in US and it was absolutely worth to come over and undergo procedure! Huge thanks for your highly professional help and personal care, now I am pregnant and wait for miracle happen next month. Rachel and Patrick New Jersey
|Ukraine||up to 52 years old||My husband and I, we would like to express our gratitude to all ISIDA specialists! It definitely was a fate that we came to Ukraine! After 3 years of unsuccessful treatment in different clinics we completely lost hope of having our own child. Nevertheless, doctors in ISIDA clinic helped us to select a suitable donor, and we started treatment in a short period of time. Thanks God after the first try we found out that I got pregnant. That was a miracle! We are so grateful to ISIDA for our daughter!
|Next Generation Clinic|
|Russia||up to 55 years old||I highly recommend this clinic. I was travelling from UK and never been to Russia before. Vlada, the administrator was very helpful and organised a taxi to pick me up from the airport and back. Clinic is very modern. Staff is very friendly. Dr. Diana was great in guiding me through the whole process. She was very quick in answering my questions and was available all the time. Both Vlada and Dr. Diana are extremely nice and friendly. My treatment was successful from the 2nd time and today I am a happy mother of an 11 month boy and that's all that it counts. Good luck to all of you with your treatment journey!
|Latvia||up to 55 years old||Very professional staff and modern equipment. Kind and positive attitude. Many thanks to the whole team!
|Slovakia||up to 52 years old||They fulfilled our dream. Great professional team, nice approach. I am grateful to them for the rest of my life and I don't know how I would make up for what they have done for ours, thanks to them they have already done a family of three
Last updated: July, 2021
IVF at 50 – Summary
The number of women looking to have a baby at the age of 50 and older is on the increase. According to data released by the Office For National Statistics in the UK the number of patients who were aged 50 plus quadrupled in the first two decades of this century.
There may be obstacles that older IVF patients have to overcome but these are not insurmountable. There are many fertility clinics offering treatment options available to older patients in different countries. Whilst IVF at 50 with own eggs is extremely difficult to succeed the use of donor eggs or donor embryos significantly increases pregnancy rates.
50 and pregnant is no longer unachievable – a route to parenthood in your 50s is now a realistic option.
IVF at 50 – FAQ
Can a 50-year-old woman get pregnant with own eggs?
Yes, but the chances are extremely slim. Chances will depend on a number of factors including general health and her ability to produce viable eggs. Age is important for predicting success rates but it is not the sole factor in achieving a pregnancy at the age of 50.
What are IVF success rates in 50-year-old women?
A common assumption used is that there is a 1% chance of success for women undergoing IVF at 50 using their own eggs which rises to around 60% when having treatment with donor egg.
What are the best IVF clinics in Europe and the world for over 50?
There is not a specific league table for clinics specializing in treating older patients. The best clinics are those which consistently offer good success rates across different age ranges and treatments. Prior to committing to a treatment plan and clinic, however, ask about their specific experience in treating older patients and their success rates with this group.
Can a menopausal woman have IVF?
The short answer is yes. Once you finally have your last period you can’t get pregnant naturally but you can undergo IVF with donated eggs or eggs you have personally donated and that have been frozen.
What is the maximum age for IVF in the UK?
There is no specific legal upper age limit for women patients although the NHS will generally only fund treatment for patients aged up to 42. Private clinics have the discretion to treat older patients as long as they are deemed healthy to undergo IVF treatment.
Where can I find BMI calculator?
There are a number of websites offering free access to a BMI calculator. English language versions include https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/bmi-calculator/
Is 49 too old for IVF?
49 is not too old for IVF but your treatment options and destinations might be restricted. Potential success rates will be reduced if you want IVF treatment using your own eggs but the use of donor eggs or embryo will significantly increase your chances of getting pregnant.
What is the oldest you can have IVF?
There are reports of women having IVF treatments in their 60s and very occasionally, 70’s but this is rare – it is increasingly common for women in their 40s to have successful IVF treatments and women in their early 50s appear to be achieving pregnancy in larger numbers.
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Table of Contents
- 1 IVF over 50 – is it possible?
- 2 Can a 50-year-old woman get pregnant naturally?
- 3 IVF over 50 – everything you need to know
- 4 IVF at 50 with own eggs
- 5 IVF at 50 with own eggs – best clinics and costs
- 6 IVF over 50 with donor eggs
- 7 IVF over 50 with donor eggs – best clinics and costs
- 8 IVF over 50 with donor embryos or/and sperm
- 9 IVF over 50 with donor embryos – best clinics and costs
- 10 IVF at 50 – Summary
- 11 IVF at 50 – FAQ
- 11.1 Can a 50-year-old woman get pregnant with own eggs?
- 11.2 What are IVF success rates in 50-year-old women?
- 11.3 What are the best IVF clinics in Europe and the world for over 50?
- 11.4 Can a menopausal woman have IVF?
- 11.5 What is the maximum age for IVF in the UK?
- 11.6 Where can I find BMI calculator?
- 11.7 Is 49 too old for IVF?
- 11.8 What is the oldest you can have IVF?
- 11.9 If you need help choosing an IVF clinic abroad, spare 3 minutes of your time. You will save at least a few hours.