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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Is it possible for a 50 year-old woman to have her eggs extracted and examined?

Question:
Is it possible for a 50 year-old woman to have her eggs extracted and examined? Then, if any might be healthy, to be inseminated and in vitro used to put back in her womb?

Steven Sondheimer, MD responds:
If only this was possible. Presently there is no way to assess the health of an oocyte (egg) and still have it available for fertilization from a woman of any age. It is only after actual fertilization that an evaluation of the embryo is possible and even this has limited success.

With in vitro fertilization programs around the world and here at Penn you may read about successful pregnancies in women over 45. This almost exclusively occurs with the use of donor eggs from younger women. As far as I know no women at age 50 has had a successful in vitro fertilization pregnancy with her own egg.

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