These women had the same pregnancy rate of 41 per cent as 700 younger patients who underwent conventional fertility
These women had the same pregnancy rate, of 41 per cent, as 700 younger patients who underwent conventional fertility treatment. The miscarriage rate was only 4 per cent.The study also included 182 women over 37 years of age who opted for conventional fertility treatment. This group only achieved a 25 per cent pregnancy rate, and were much more likely to miscarry, with 15 per cent losing their child.The test is limited because only a single embryonic cell is used and the current error rate is 5 to 7 per cent. Older women who undergo the new test are also strongly recommended to undergo conventional pre-natal diagnosis to avoid the possibility of having an affected baby. "The social, psychological and ethical implications of the poor chance of a successful pregnancy among older women has become evident as more and more women over 37 years old ask for help from assisted reproductive technology. So to be able to offer these women the same chance of achieving healthy babies as younger women is now an important and heartening step forward," said Dr Ferraretti.Over a quarter of women who go to fertility clinics are over 38 years old.
On average they produce only seven eggs per cycle compared with 12 for younger women.Nine out of 10 of the couples who took part in the study and had the new tests had a successful pregnancy after three treatment cycles.The Italian researchers said that the technique would only add an additional pounds 300 to the cost of fertility treatment.In Britain, the average live birth rate from fertile couples is 20 per cent per treatment cycle. For those over 40 years old this falls to less than 10 per cent per cycle.The actress Patricia Hodge is one of a string of well-known women having children later in life She gave birth to her first child at the age of 42 Three years later, another son was born. Jane Seymour gave birth to twins at 44 while Britt Ekland had her son at the age of 45.. GREG DYKE, director-general- designate of the BBC, failed to convince William Hague, the Tory leader, that his appointment would not lead to bias against the party. After talks last night the Tory chairman, Michael Ancram, said a gulf remained between the Opposition and BBC over Mr Dyke's appointment, in spite of his decision to cut his links with Labour. "We made it clear there is a problem caused by Greg Dyke's appointment .. We said that problem remains unresolved .. We asked them to look at ways of resolving it. We look to them to come back with suggestions." The Conservatives, who have told the BBC they are hiring a private agency to monitor for anti-Tory bias on the BBC, put suggestions to the BBC but refused to comment on what these were.Sir Christopher Bland, chairman of the BBC, and Sir John Birt, the present director-general, went with Mr Dyke to what was obviously a tense meeting at Conservative Central Office.Pursued by one of his own film crews, Mr Dyke refused to say anything on the steps of Tory headquarters after the meeting but in a press release said: "I welcome the opportunity to repeat the assurances I have given that I believe passionately in the independence of the BBC.
As director- general I will ensure that the BBC continues to act fairly and impartially and resist political pressures from any side."The BBC outlined the arrangements in place for ensuring impartiality, including obligations under the charter, the role of the governors as trustees of the public interest, the role of the director-general as editor- in-chief, responsibilities of programme-makers under the BBC guidelines and compliance with editorial policy and the complaints system.Sir Christopher read out a statement describing it as a "constructive meeting".It was arranged last week at the suggestion of Sir Christopher when he rang Mr Hague with advance notice of the BBC's intention to appoint Mr Dyke with effect from 1 April next year.. SWEEPING REFORMS to housing benefit are expected to be shelved until after the next general election in an attempt by the Government to avoid a backlash from working-class voters. Ministers confirmed yesterday that proposals to change the pounds 11bn-a-year system, which helps 4.5 million tenants pay their rents, would be outlined in a Green Paper by the end of the year, as promised in the March Budget. The benefit is likely to be converted into a tax credit to boost the incentives to the jobless to find work. But ministers said that while some fine-tuning might take place in the next two years, the bulk of the changes would be deferred until after the next election "This is for the second term," one source said.