Becoming a mother at 40: genetic study before IVF

The search for economic and labor stability leads us to delay motherhood, which is why it is increasingly common for women to have their first child over the age of 30. In addition, there is a false perception of a woman’s fertile period. Fertility decreases with increasing age, due to a reduction in the quantity and quality of eggs. For these reasons, the age of women who consult assisted reproduction centers is increasing.

In spite of the advances in the techniques, the pregnancy rates achieved with In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) in women over 40 are low because fewer embryos are obtained, of poorer quality and with a higher incidence of aneuploidy (alteration in the number of chromosomes). Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS) makes it possible to detect these aneuploidies in embryos and to select the embryo suitable for transfer to the maternal uterus.

Study of the chromosomes of the embryo

The CGHarray technique makes it possible to study the 24 chromosomes of the embryo. The use of this technique in older patients seems to increase pregnancy rates and reduce miscarriage rates, since it makes it possible to select embryos without aneuploidy. However, it must be kept in mind that this screening cannot “cure” the embryo; that is to say, if it presents chromosome alterations it cannot be repaired, so if all the couple’s embryos are affected, the couple will not have any embryos to transfer.

Despite the advances, it is essential to know that the success of these techniques decreases with age, as the number of embryos with chromosomal alterations increases. Gynecologists and primary care physicians should be made aware of the need to inform their patients to seek gestation at an early age and not to delay going to specialized centers to help them achieve their dream of becoming parents.