Forty may be the new thirty and fifty may be the new forty, but no one told our reproductive systems. And never has society provided more help in convincing us of our new younger status, through the mega-industries of cosmetic enhancement and reproductive assistance.
Botox is to the face what IVF is to the ovaries: both involve needles, both hurt like hell, but one has a much higher success rate. There are no prizes for guessing which one. At forty it’s much easier to look like Nicollette Sheridan than to reproduce like Cherie Blair. And success rates with IVF, the most assisted of assisted reproductive techniques, are insignificantly higher than natural rates.
For example, at 45, there is a one percent chance of getting pregnant, and then at least a fifty percent chance of miscarriage. The chances of IVF success between the ages of 40 and 45 average about ten percent, but they really start at this point and drop dramatically every year, which is why many clinics don’t cycle for women over 42 using their own ova.
They say it’s because they don’t want big money for little to no hope, but they probably don’t want to deflate their own success rates as it’s not good for business and this is understandable – they need business in order to improve its services.
When I was ready to start new rounds of IVF at the age of 41, having been successful at 38*, my potential success rate had nearly halved and my potential miscarriage rate had increased by fifty. percent, which is not very encouraging. However, if I hadn’t been lucky enough to conceive a child, I would no doubt be in California by now, having mortgaged my house and busy organizing an egg donation.
We can turn back the clock in many ways, but our eggs remain the same. I can only assume that in the future more women will freeze their eggs when they are young, having learned from a generation of women who found themselves, through modern circumstances, able to get rid of frown lines but unable to conceive a child.