Background: 1190 consecutive in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment cycles from the Southampton University/BUPA Chalybeate unit, spanning a four year period, were studied retrospectively in order to assess the relationship between maternal age and implantation. Our aim was to evaluate the hypothesis that the number of transferred embryos can be determined by age alone.
Method: The cases were allocated to two age groups, Group 1 was composed of patients of less than or equal to 35 years of age and Group 2 of patients greater than 35 years of age.
Results: We found that the selection criteria used in our programme for abandoning treatment cycles led to significantly more older patients being excluded from oocyte collection (p < 0.001). The patients from both groups that progressed to oocyte collection and embryo transfer showed no significant difference in embryo implantation. The overall implantation rate (12.4%) and clinical pregnancy rate per embryo transfer (22.8%) were achieved by being able to transfer comparable numbers of embryos in both age groups and in spite of the younger age group having a significantly better quality of transferred embryos.
Conclusion: Although advancing maternal age predisposes to a reduced chance of success from IVF treatment, maternal age alone was not a useful predictor of embryo implantation or endometrial receptivity in completed IVF treatment cycles.