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Upper Age Limits for Parents

A thorny path to a chance of having children is sometimes too long for some couples. Sometimes attempts to become pregnant, to solve the problem of infertility take more than a decade. Most countries of the world where assistive reproductive technologies are widely used have certain limits that definitely restrict the upper age of parents. What is the situation with age limitations for ART in Ukraine and in the neighboring Russian Federation?

What is Determining Age for ART Subject to?

Today, with the introduction of assisted reproductive technologies specialists in Ukraine rely mainly on the order of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine No. 787 dated 09.09.2013 “On Approving the ART Procedure in Ukraine”. This concerns the procedures themselves, the stages of conducting, the indications and contraindications for them, and so on.

Regarding regulation of age there are no legislative acts as such. There is, however, a restriction on age for ART set in the decree of the Ministry of Health No. 579 dated 29.11.2004 as amended by No. 362 dated 05.06.2006 regarding this procedure carried out for budgetary funds. In this case the age of a woman varies from 18 to 40 years.

There was an attempt to put in place the age requirement for IVF in 2012; the maximum age allowed was proposed to be from 49 to 51 years. A prohibition to carry out this procedure in Ukraine for foreigners in whose states there is no possibility to resort to surrogate motherhood was also in question. But the president vetoed it. Thus, in fact the maximum age of parents for IVF or other methods of treating infertility is determined in each specific case. Everything depends on the patient’s health condition, risks of late pregnancy and common sense of course.

The above document of the Ministry of Health No. 787 dated 29.11.2004 establishes age of an egg donor varyingfrom 18 to 36 and a sperm donor from 20 to 40 years. A surrogate mother according to the same document must be capable adult without contraindications to artificial insemination.

There is a similar situation in the Russian Federation. There are no strict limits on the age if IVF is held at the account of personal funds. There is a significant difference regarding the rights of natural parents when choosing such a method of infertility treatment as a surrogate motherhood. In Ukraine, spouses whose donates were used for the fertilization of a surrogate mother are actual parents by documents, unlike the Russian Federation where a woman who carries fetus to term must sign a waiver of her rights.

What’s in Practice?

It is obvious that age for IVF is one of the obstacles to a successful outcome of the procedure, but far from being the most important. The oldest mother in Ukraine gave birth after artificial insemination at the age of 66. Even more surprising facts are known throughout the world. Therefore, with a strong desire a successful IVF after 50 is not impossible.

In practice, if a patient of the senior reproductive age wants to use ART, first of all, she shall be explained all the risks associated with late pregnancy for her and her child, warned that after 40 to 45 years the possibility of becoming pregnant generally decreases. The way out is IVF optionwith a donor egg/sperm or the option with a surrogate mother.

Age of a surrogate mother should ideally correspond to the age of the egg donor established by the legislation varying from 18 to 36 years. But again, there are no clear rules. It is logical that such a responsible process cannot be entrusted to a woman with the slightest contraindications to the procedure or with an increased risk of losing pregnancy due to the age factor. Except for those cases when genetic parents insist on their surrogate mother (which is often future parents’ relative).

Advantages and Disadvantages of Mature Parents

The biggest disadvantage is becoming an aged parent especially for the first time – it’s a risk of not becoming such at all. But with a competent approach, adequate treatment or rather choice thereof a lot is possible. By the age of 40, the woman’s ovulatory supply is declining and the possibility to conceive is significantly reduced. Men are also subject to age-related changes – the quality of sperm can significantly deteriorate.

The IVF procedure is a chance that gives an excellent opportunity to become parents in adulthood. Fertility specialists grow the right number of eggs and if necessary choose the healthiest, most mobile and most morphologically correct sperm for fertilization. The woman’s ability to carry a child without any health damage is more dangerous than the procedure of artificial insemination itself.

The efficient way out is a surrogate mother. In addition, the existing PGD will allow selecting healthy embryos without the risks of having a child with genetic pathologies. In simple words, the best genes of father and mother being aged parents are carried by a young and healthy organism. The age of genetic parents is usually not restricted; frequently specialists are guided by medical indicators and rationality of such a decision.

The opinion that the older the parent the worse it is for a future child loses its validity from year to year, with every discovery in the world of reproductive medicine. In the absence of strict medical contraindications it is not only small wonder but also nice to become parents in the age from 40 to 50 years. How much love, patience and affection such a long-awaited child will get from mom and dad!


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