Oocyte or embryo donation to women of advanced reproductive age: an Ethics Committee opinion

This document discusses the ethical issues surrounding donating embryos or oocytes to women of advanced reproductive age.

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Volume 106, Issue 5, Pages e3-e7


Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine


Advanced reproductive age (ARA) is a risk factor for female infertility, pregnancy loss, fetal anomalies, stillbirth, and obstetric complications. Oocyte donation reverses the age-related decline in implantation and birth rates of women in their 40s and 50s and restores pregnancy potential beyond menopause. However, obstetrical complications in older patients remain high, particularly related to operative delivery and hypertensive and cardiovascular risks. Physicians should perform a thorough medical evaluation designed to assess the physical fitness of a patient for pregnancy before deciding to attempt transfer of embryos to any woman of advanced reproductive age (>45 years). Embryo transfer should be strongly discouraged or denied to women of ARA with underlying conditions that increase or exacerbate obstetrical risks. Because of concerns related to the high-risk nature of pregnancy, as well as longevity, treatment of women over the age of 55 should generally be discouraged. This statement replaces the earlier ASRM Ethics Committee document of the same name, last published in 2013 (Fertil Steril 2013;100:337–40).

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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.