Other recent good news for older women and fertility comes from an unlikely source: statistics from in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics. Until just a few years ago, IVF success rates for older women were depressingly low. As of 2011—the most recent national statistics available—only 27 percent of women in their late 30s had a baby after one IVF cycle, compared to 40 percent of those under 35. For women spending upwards of $10,000 in a last-ditch effort to have a baby, such a reduction in chances can be devastating.
But that was 2011. IVF clinics can now identify chromosomally normal embryos—those that will grow into a healthy baby—through a procedure called comprehensive chromosome screening (CCS). Pregnancy rates after the transfer of normal embryos can top 70 percent. In a study published in March in Fertility and Sterility, researchers from Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey found that more than half (57 percent) of embryos from women in their late 30s were chromosomally normal. Almost all 35 to 39-year-old women—92 percent—had at least one normal embryo to transfer after a single IVF cycle.