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Women over 38

More and more women are having children in later life. As age affects your fertility this may mean you’re more likely to need fertility treatment. Get an overview of some of the key things you should be thinking about if you’re over 38 and planning a family.

NHS funding

Guidelines to healthcare professionals recommend that women up to the age of 40 should be offered three cycles of IVF and women up to the age of 42 should be offered one cycle of IVF.   However these are only guidelines so you’ll need to check what’s available in your local area and whether you meet eligibility criteria. Also, if you’re keen to start treatment as soon as possible you might want to talk to your doctor about waiting times on the NHS.

Costs and funding

Using donated eggs

Some women choose to use donated eggs in their treatment as success rates are higher, sometimes significantly so. You could consider asking a relative to donate in order to maintain a genetic link, or find someone via a clinic (they’ll try and find the closest match to you possible). The eggs can then either be mixed with your partner’s sperm or donor sperm if needed.

Using donated eggs, sperm or embryos in treatment

In vitro fertilisation (IVF)

IVF is suitable for people with a wide range of fertility issues and is the one of the most commonly used and successful treatments available for many people.

Find out more about IVF

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)

For around half of couples who are having problems conceiving the cause of infertility is sperm-related. ICSI is the most common and successful treatment for male infertility.

Find out more about ICSI

Surrogacy

Surrogacy can be used by women who have a medical condition that makes it difficult or impossible to get pregnant and couples who have had repeated miscarriages or failed treatment cycles.

Find out more about Surrogacy

Getting started

Download our free guide to having fertility treatment. From fertility testing to consultations and more, you'll be prepared for every step.

Read our Getting Started guide
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Surgery

Some conditions that affect your fertility may be treatable with surgery. This includes women with blocked fallopian tubes, endometriosis and fibroids.

Find out more about Surgery

Treatment add ons

If you’re having private treatment your clinic may offer you optional treatment ‘add ons’. This could include screening treatments like pre-implantation screening (PGS) to check whether your embryos are chromosomally healthy. Or it might include treatments like assisted hatching, which some people claim helps the embryo to implant in the womb. Not all of these treatments have been proven to work so it’s worth checking what the scientific evidence is for them.

Treatment add ons

Looking after yourself

Many couples say that going through fertility treatment was one of the hardest things they’ve ever done. Counselling can help you to stay resilient and cope with the inevitable challenges.

Get support
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Coping if treatment doesn't work

There are many reasons why treatment might be unsuccessful. Find out some of the most common reasons and get tips on how to pick yourself up after a disappointment.

How to cope
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Researching clinics

If you’re ready to find a fertility clinic, read our guide on what to look for in a fantastic clinic. From multiple birth rates to our expert inspection ratings, we’ll give you everything you need to make an informed decision.

How to choose a fertility clinic
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59% of cycles in women over 44 use donor eggs

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Publication date: 9 November 2018

Review date: 9 November 2020

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