A report published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that the younger a woman is when she uses assisted reproductive technology (ART), the more likely she is to become pregnant and have a live birth using her own eggs. The report defines ART as procedures in which both egg and sperm are handled in a laboratory, and says the majority of ART treatments its data include refers to IVF.
The CDC's annual report, released last week, used data for the year 2002 collected from 391 of the 428 fertility clinics in the US. The report, called '2002 Assisted Reproductive Technology Success Rates', showed that, in 2002, 45,751 live births were achieved from 115,392 ART procedures performed in the US. This was an increase from the previous year's figures, when there were 40,687 live births from 107,758 treatments. Overall, the per-cycle ART success rate in 2002 was 35 per cent, compared to 28 per cent in 1996.
The 2002 data show that 37 per cent of women, who undergo ART using their own, fresh eggs when they are below the age of 35, had a live birth. This is compared with 31 per cent of women aged between 35 and 37; 21 per cent of women aged between 38 and 40; 11 per cent of women aged between 41 and 42 and just four per cent for women older than 42. However, the report also showed that the age of the woman undergoing ART had 'little effect' on success rates if donated eggs were used. In 2002, the live birth rate for all ART procedures where donated eggs were used was 50 per cent, with the success rate varying only slightly between age groups.
Victoria Wright, one of the authors of the CDC report, said that the data show that 'women in their 20s and early 30s who used ART had the most success with pregnancies, and single live births'. But, she added, 'success rates declined steadily once a woman reached her mid-30s'. She said the figures should act as 'a reminder that age remains a primary factor with respect to pregnancy success, and younger women have greater success than older women, even with technology'.