WOMEN are using IVF to start families later in life and with greater success, a report says.
Their average age was 35.7 in 2019 — exactly five years older than that for mums who conceive naturally.
Ten times more women use IVF than in 1991, with the proportion of over-40s doing so doubling to 21 per cent. Under NHS rules, women aged between 40 and 42 should be offered one full cycle while under-40s should get three.
The success rate has jumped to one in four in women aged 35 to 37 compared with about one in 17 three decades ago.
Women in same-sex relationships had four per cent of all IVF cycles, four times the figure ten years ago. The number of rounds taken by single women doubled to two per cent, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority said.
Julia Chain, of the HFEA, said: “There have been many positive changes in the treatment of patients over the last 30 years, with birth rates increasing, multiple birth rates falling and treatment becoming safer.
“We know that family structures are changing and continue to evolve, and the fertility sector is providing more options for people to create their families.”
The report exposes a postcode lottery for treatment, with 62 per cent of cycles funded in Scotland compared with 20 per cent in the east of England.
Prof Dr Geeta Nargund, medical director at CREATE Fertility, said: “While not unexpected, it is shocking to see the severity of regional discrepancies that exist in access to IVF funding.”