Do older eggs have problems fertilizing and/or hatching?

(4 posts)(4 voices)
  1. My RE says no, but I'm interested to know what others have heard. I'm probably going to convert an IVF cycle to IUI because of poor response (2 follicles) - my RE says with so few eggs the odds with IUI and IVF are the same. I'm wondering, though, if an IUI is less likely to work with older eggs because they're \"crusty\" and harder to fertilize / hatch.

    Has anyone heard anything about this? (I'm 42, if that matters.)

  2. It depends on each case, really... Generally, older women tend to have embryos that have thicker zonas which make it harder to hatch, so that's why ASRM recommends assisted hatching for women 38+. I'm 40, but none of our embryos have had thick zonas... You can look at your embryo's history to see what your case has been...

    I'm a very poor responder, and out of 4 IVF cycles, I've gone to ER for 2 ready follicles. I can tell you my odds with IVF and IUI are NOT the same... My RE told me from the beginning that my odds of success with IVF is 20% as a poor responder. So far, we've had 1-2 embryos for transfer. With 2 embryos txd, our success rate is 20%. With 1 embryo, it's 15%. With IUI, it's about 5% at best.

    You really need to look at your history with IVF and your medical history to see where you'll stand. For us, it doesn't make any sense to do IUI at all at 40. Even with a 10-15% increase in success rate from IUI to IVF, it more than double your odds of success... Good luck...

  3. Yes, most of the time older eggs do have a harder time fertilizing and hatching. Has your RE seen your eggs? That's the only way to know for sure. Older eggs often need ICSI and AH.

    I just cancelled an IVF to an IUI despite the statistics. I had tried a new protocol and produced less eggs than in my last IVF. It didn't make sense to spend the extra money on IVF when I could wait and cycle again and produce more.

    So, I would also ask if he plans to use a different protocol. If 2 eggs is all you can do, that's all you can do you should keep with IVF.

  4. Princess- lots of REs will maintain that older eggs need ICSI, but I've yet to see anyone actually produce a nice scientific study that shows that. Oh, and some places will also insist that ICSI is necessary with frozen sperm. Again, never seen a study. As to assisted hatching, I think I once dug up some studies on over-40 eggs, but I don't remember them being impressively for or against. It's been a few years since I've gone through the literature, so there could be some new work out there. I'd go for the IUI.
    Good luck!
    -Margie

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