Over-40s baby boom after IVF advances

THERE are four times more IVF babies being born to mothers aged over 40 than two decades ago, with women over 47 now enjoying the joys of motherhood.

New data highlights the soaring success rates of fertility treatments in older women using their own eggs.

"Numbers for live birth rates show that older DNA can be rescued by modern IVF, and this offers great hope to women in their 40s who hope to be a mum," Queensland Fertility Group medical director Dr David Molloy told The Sunday Mail.

Dr David Molloy of Queensland Fertility Group. Picture: Russell Shakespeare
Dr David Molloy of Queensland Fertility Group. Picture: Russell Shakespeare

The latest figures from the Australian & New Zealand Assisted Reproduction Database show that in 2014, there was a success rate of 23.5 per cent in all age pregnancies, and almost 10 per cent in those aged between 40 and 44.

"I am counselling women in their 40s today the way I used to counsel women in their 30s,'' Dr Molloy said.

"Over 45s would once have been sent away and told there was no hope of having a baby using their own eggs.

"IVF technology has come a long way. Having said that, I don't want to give women the impression they should hold off until their 40s; of course, if you can have a baby earlier, that is better.''

One of the many mums enjoying their babies this Mother's Day is Kirsten Hartmann from Brisbane.

Kirsten Hartman with Hugo, 8 months, and Oscar, 7. Both children were born via IVF. Picture: Jamie Hanson
Kirsten Hartman with Hugo, 8 months, and Oscar, 7. Both children were born via IVF. Picture: Jamie Hanson

The 41-year-old from Nundah has two children born through IVF - Oscar, 7, and little brother Hugo, eight months.

Oscar was conceived on the third IVF attempt, while Hugo required five embryo transfers.

"Forty is the new 30,'' Ms Hartmann said.

"There is nothing like having the baby you dreamed of to breathe youthfulness and joy into your body.''

She said the medical branding of mothers over 35 as "geriatric" was outdated and offensive.

"It is so negative suggesting that we are substandard or can't cope,'' Ms Hartmann said.

"People don't need to worry that, 'I am too old and tired or too set in my ways to handle a new baby'. Honestly, sleepless nights are the same whether you are 20 or 40 - they are tough.

"But, for me, I feel so blessed to have my sons that even the exhaustion feels like a gift.''