Is younger better? Donor age less than 25 does not predict more favorable outcomes after in vitro fertilization

  • Leigh A. Humphries
  • Laura E. Dodge
  • Erin B. Kennedy
  • Kathryn C. Humm
  • Michele R. Hacker
  • Denny SakkasEmail author
Assisted Reproduction Technologies



To determine whether younger oocyte donor age is associated with better outcomes after in vitro fertilization (IVF) compared with older oocyte donor age.


A retrospective cohort study.


Large academically affiliated infertility treatment center.


We included all women ≥ 18 years who started their first fresh cycle using donor oocytes at our center from January 2002 through October 2017; only the first oocyte recipient cycle was analyzed.


Log-binomial regression was used to compare the incidence of clinical pregnancy and live birth among the following donor age groups: < 25 years, 25 to < 30 years, and 30 to <35 years.

Main outcome measure

Incidence of clinical pregnancy and live birth among donor age groups.


We included 774 donor cycles; 269 (34.8%) used donors < 25 years, 399 (51.6%) used donors 25 to < 30 years, and 106 (13.7%) used donors 30 to < 35 years. Median donor age was 26 years (range 18–34.5), and median recipient age and partner age were both 42 years. Per cycle start, after adjusting for recipient age, cycles using donors < 25 years were not associated with a higher incidence of clinical pregnancy (RR 0.90; 95% CI 0.77–1.06) or live birth (RR 0.87; 95% CI 0.72–1.04) compared with donors age 25–< 30 years.


Donor age < 25 was not associated with better outcomes after IVF. Under the age of 30, the prioritization of <25 year old donors may not be recommended given the lack of evidence for superior pregnancy or live birth outcomes.


IVF Oocyte donation Live birth Assisted reproductive technology Age 


Funding information

This work was conducted with financial support from Harvard Catalyst | The Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center (National Center for Research Resources and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health Award 1UL1 TR001102-01) and financial contributions from Harvard University and its affiliated academic health care centers.

Compliance with ethical standards

The institutional review board at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center approved this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyBeth Israel Deaconess Medical CenterBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive BiologyHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of EpidemiologyHarvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  4. 4.Boston IVFWalthamUSA
  5. 5.The George Washington University Medical Faculty AssociatesWashington, DCUSA

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