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How Old is Too Old? Age, Genetics and Reproduction Marcelle I. Cedars, M.D. Director, Division of Reproductive Endocrinology UCSF.

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Presentation on theme: "How Old is Too Old? Age, Genetics and Reproduction Marcelle I. Cedars, M.D. Director, Division of Reproductive Endocrinology UCSF."— Presentation transcript:

1 How Old is Too Old? Age, Genetics and Reproduction Marcelle I. Cedars, M.D. Director, Division of Reproductive Endocrinology UCSF

2 What is Reproductive Aging? Quantity: Natural process of oocyte loss – Fourth month of fetal development 6-7 million – Birth 1-2 million – Menarche 400,000 – Loss acceleration (approx. age 37) 25,000 – Menopause 1000 Process: Apoptosis


4 What is Reproductive Aging? Quality: decreased implantation potential – Increase in meiotic non-disjunction Production-line theory Accumulated damage Deficiencies of the granulosa cells

5 Reproductive Aging: Why do we care? Changing Demographics 20% of women wait until they are at least 35 years of age before having their first child Establishment of a career Awaiting a stable relationship Desire for financial security False sense of security provided by high-tech fertility procedures


7 Normal Biological Decline Gougeon, Maturitas, 30: , 1998

8 Percent Increase in Birthrates CDC Vital and Health Statistics 2000


10 Concurrent Loss in Quantity AND Quality

11 Oocyte Quality Chromosomes and DNA Mitochondria and ooplasm

12 Abnormalities in oocytes increase with age


14 Impact of Genetics on Ovarian Aging Complex Trait – Genetic Familial association with age at menopause 30-85% estimates of heritability – Environmental Oxidative stress Alterations in blood flow Toxins in the environment


16 Reproductive Aging Lifestyle Factors Cigarette smoking – Female Affect the follicular microenvironment Affect hormonal levels of the luteal phase Accelerates oocyte loss (menopause 1-4 years earlier) – Male Negative affect on sperm production, motility and morphology Increased risk for DNA damage

17 Reproductive Aging Lifestyle Factors Weight: BMI 25 – Female Alterations in hormonal profile and anovulation Increased time to conception – Male Increased time to conception

18 Reproductive Aging Lifestyle Factors Stress – Lack of clear evidence – Difficult to measure – Some reduction with ART outcome noted Caffeine – Studies with problems of recall bias – Suggestion of association with reduced fertility Alcohol – Studies with problems of recall bias – Biological plausibility

19 Reproductive Aging Lifestyle Factors Environmental Factors – Organic solvents – Pesticides – Phthalates

20 Loss of Ooctye Quality Abnormal fertilization, arrest of early development Failure to implant Post-implantation problems recognized loss developmentally delayed child (down syndrome)

21 Assessing Reproductive Age What are you measuring? And Why? Reproductive performance – Response to stimulation – Live-born

22 Assessing Reproductive Age Direct measures – AFC/ovarian volume – Anti-mullerian Hormone (AMH) – Inhibin B Indirect measures – FSH

23 Reproductive Aging Is it Quantity or Quality FSH – Indirect measure of follicular pool Decrease in inhibin B leads to increase FSH – Not associated with increased risk of aneuploidy (vanMongfrans, 2004) – Decreased predictive ability in populations with a low prevalence (young women)

24 Antral follicle count – Cycle day – Follicle size – < 3 – diminished reserve Evaluation of the Ovary Testing of Ovarian Reserve

25 Antral follicle count AFC = 18 AFC= 4

26 How to identify age-related problems? Body as bioassay Shortened menstrual cycles Pre-cycle spotting


28 Ovarian Reserve Testing Goal: To determine the functional capacity of the ovary. Specifically the quantity and quality of oocytes remaining. General Population Chance of conception Determine the time before ovarian aging begins Sub-fertile Population Chance of conception, with or without treatment Optimal dose or protocol for treatment Maheshwari, et al, 2006

29 Does Quantity = Quality? Quantity number of oocytes retrieved – Allows for selection – Allows for freezing – Affect on pregnancy rate/retrieval – BUT does quantity = quality?? Quality – Pregnancy rate – Surrogate marker: Implantation rate per embryo transferred

30 Does Quantity = Quality? Markers of ovarian reserve, such as basal AMH or FSH levels and AFCs, can predict quantity of oocytes, but are not good predictors of oocyte quality (defined as pregnancy success).

31 FSH Predicts Quantity, but not Quality P=0.3 P=0.05 P=0.06 P=0.01

32 AFC Predicts Quantity and Quality p=0.014 p=0.048 p<0.001

33 Age is the Best Predictor of Quality IR = 28.4 IR = 15.9 p<0.001 PR = 28.7 PR = 46.7 p<0.001

34 Quantity and Quality IR Poor Responders 38.9% 14.5% P = IR 21.6% 22.6% P=0.78

35 Decreased AFC AFC Age # Follicles Reproductive window

36 Reproductive Aging Treatment Counsel couple – Likelihood for success Prepare treatment schedule – Stimulation based on ovarian (not chronological ) age


38 Stimulations for Advanced Reproductive Aging High dose protocols Flare protocols Halt protocols Antagonist protocols Whats new? – Estradiol priming – Minimal stimulation – Androgen pretreatment

39 Estradiol Priming Goal: syncrhonize recruitment by preventing the premenstrual rise of FSH

40 Estradiol Priming addition of luteal phase GnRH antagonist

41 Minimal Stimulation Cancellation of a short treatment cycle is not a great burden.. Few oocytes is not bad at all.. Quality is more important than Quantity. Less oocytes means less burden at aspiration… Mild stimulation cycles have a higher repeat rate…

42 Minimal Stimulation

43 Stimulation Mild: closed Conventional: open

44 Androgen Pretreatment Role of androgens in follicular development – Precursors for ovarian estrogen synthesis – Augmentation of granulosa cell FSH receptor expression – Stimulate IGF-I and IGF-I receptor in preantral and antral follicles Aromatase inhibitors Transdermal testosterone DHEA

45 Androgen Pretreatment Balasch et al., 2006 Transdermal testosterone 2.5mg over 5 days



48 What to do? Early complete infertility evaluation including testing of ovarian reserve Limit treatment recommendations to 3-4 months Improve endocrine environment/increase egg number



51 IVF – Pregnancy and Livebirth CDC 2004

52 Decide What Is Important Having a child to raise Being pregnant Sharing genetic make-up with partner

53 Oocyte Donation Candidates diminished ovarian reserve premature ovarian failure genetic problems Success rate 50-60%/cycle 70-90% cumulative Provides evidence that the age of the egg, NOT the uterus, is the critical factor

54 The Bottom Line Evaluate early Give a fair estimate of outcome Develop a time-limited treatment plan

55 Thank you for your attention

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