Should older women be denied the chance of IVF?

Marie Claire asks how old is too old to be granted state-funded IVF?

It is a question that has been raised many times before: How old is too old to have a baby? Should a woman over 40 be denied the opportunity of state-funded IVF simply because of her age?

The existing guidelines state that this would be the case. But are things about to change?

In an era where the number of women conceiving in their 40s is increasing, these recommendations seem outdated and unfair.

Consequently, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) are reviewing their old policies and are now considering an update. So could we be seeing the introduction of ovarian reserve testing?

Many fertility experts are divided on the matter. Dr Allan Pacey, a spokesman for the British Fertility Society, says such a system would be ‘more just, and more likely to produce children.’

Whereas Dr Gillian Lockwood, a vice-chairman of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, argues that there is nothing fair at all in spending money just on those with the best chance of pregnancy.

But with the current age for NHS funded IVF restricted to those under 40, ovarian reserve testing could open the door for a healthy 40-year-old with a high ovarian reserve.

Pacey affirms that with improved testing ‘it gives a better prediction of who might do well at responding to the IVF drugs, rather than relying on age alone.’

The question is, with statistics showing a slim chance of IVF resulting in a baby for those over 40, will older women really benefit?

On the other hand, while it is true that new rules may not eliminate old problems, should these women be given the chance regardless?

Marie Claire wants to hear your thoughts on the matter by posting your comment in the box below.

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