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Women with Older Ovaries

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Sunday, September 16, 2007 | 0 comments

Older women (generally above age 38), and younger women with so-called prematurely aging ovaries, will often find it harder to get pregnant. We, here at CHR, have a special interest in the “older women pregnancy and aging ovary” and have been conducting a lot of research on this topic. See Ovarian Aging: is there a "Norm" in Contemporary ObGyn. Our program has become known in the community as the program of “last resort” and we, therefore, have probably proportionally more “older ovaries” under treatment than any other infertility center in New York City.

Treatment Findings - To Date
Probably the most exciting news in our continuous efforts to investigate the beneficial effects of DHEA supplementation on the ovary, is that the prospectively, double blinded, randomized study, which we started at the beginning of the year in collaboration with a number of European centers, is progressing well. Our European colleagues are, indeed, succeeding in enrolling patients into this placebo-controlled trial and we expect, at least preliminary results, by year end.

Those of you, who have recently looked at CHRs 2006 IVF cycle outcomes, will already be fully aware of the dramatic improvement we experienced in pregnancy rates in women above age 40. With an overall clinical pregnancy rate of 23.5% in women at ages 40-45, we in statistically significant terms exceeded our pregnancy rates in these age groups for the years 2003-2005. The only change that had taken place in 2006 was the addition of DHEA supplementation in a systematic way to all women who had failed at least one prior IVF attempt. All in all, only 43% of women above age 40, therefore, received DHEA supplementation; yet, pregnancy rates still improved dramatically.

Based on these findings, we have now instituted DHEA supplementation for all women above age 40. As a consequence, we fully expect a further improvement in our 2007 pregnancy rates in women of these age groups.

Our second declared goal for the year 2007 is to expand our treatment successes in older women beyond age 45. We, therefore, encourage older women, above that age, who are still interested in pursuing conception with their own oocytes, to contact us. We have gotten very close to breaking the 46-year barrier, but are so-far still approximately one month shy.

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About Catherine: I am mom to three grown sons, two grandchildren and two rescue dogs. After years of raising my boys as a single mom, I remarried a wonderful man who had never had a child of his own. Unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant at 49!
Sadly we lost that precious baby at 8 weeks, and decided to try again. Five more losses, turned down for donor egg, foster care and adoption due to my age and losses - we have accepted that there will be no more babies in our house.

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