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In Vitro Fertilization Can Best Help Younger Women

The treatment cannot reverse age-related infertility

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 14 (HealthDay News) -- In vitro fertilization can help younger women overcome infertility, but it cannot reverse the effects of age on fertility, researchers report in the Jan. 15 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Beth A. Malizia, M.D., of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues conducted a study of 6,164 patients who underwent 14,248 cycles of in vitro fertilization (IVF) between 2000 and 2005. The patients were followed-up for as long as they had treatment. The researchers analyzed the data from two perspectives: optimistic, which assumed that patients who discontinued IVF had the same chance of pregnancy as those who continued; and conservative, which assumed those who did not continue with IVF had no live births.

Based on the optimistic analysis of the data, six cycles of IVF resulted in a cumulative 72 percent live-birth rate, while the conservative analysis yielded a cumulative live-birth rate of 51 percent, the researchers report. When the patients were stratified according to age, those who were 34 and younger had an 86 percent and 65 percent success rate according to optimistic and conservative analysis, respectively, while those aged 40 and older had a 42 percent and 23 percent success rate, respectively, the investigators found.

"IVF may largely overcome infertility in younger women, but it does not reverse the age-dependent decline in fertility," the authors write.

Several of the study authors report financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry.

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