The American Society of Reproductive Medicine sent out a bulletin on May 6, 2014 titled, “Older Women Should Move More Quickly to IVF.” This statement was prompted by a new study from the group at Boston IVF and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the Fertility and Sterility Journal.
In 2010, this same group reported a study comparing costs and success with sequential infertility treatments of Clomid with Intrauterine Insemination (CC/IUI), fertility injections (FSH)/IUI, and IVF in younger age women with infertility. This study showed that younger women who bypassed the middle step treatment of FSH/IUI and went directly from CC/IUI to IVF got pregnant much quicker and at a lower cost.
The new 2014 study specifically looks at fertility treatment success in women 38-42 years old. This study randomized women in this age group to begin treatment with CC/IUI, FSH/IUI or IVF. Women who did not get pregnant after two treatments of CC/IUI or FSH/IUI were switched to IVF.
The results showed that women who immediately began treatment with IVF got pregnant much quicker with a much higher pregnancy rate per cycle. Of all women who did get pregnant from treatment, 84 percent got pregnant from IVF.
Contrary to traditional medical thinking, the pregnancy rate for women treated with FSH/IUI was slightly lower than the CC/IUI group; FSH/IUI is a significantly more expensive treatment with a higher risk of multiple pregnancies.
In conclusion, the most successful infertility treatment is immediate IVF for women in this age group.
The authors recommended CC/IUI rather than FSH/IUI for women who did not want immediate IVF treatment. This means that these women will undergo more treatment cycles than women who immediately want IVF treatment. More cycles means more time, and in this age group, success rates decline quickly with increase in age.
Although this study is not earth shattering information for patients, it is good for specialists in the field of infertility to have another well done study to demonstrate the importance time plays for older women to quickly move forward with more aggressive treatments including IVF.
IVF is not necessarily the right answer for starting your infertility treatment, but it is an important to discuss this option with your physician as early as possible to find the best treatment plan for you.