The number of women between 40 and 45 who are undergoing fertility treatment has risen by 30 percent in the last five years in the country, according to a new report.
The report, by the Maccabi health maintenance organization, notes that in Haifa, the number of these relatively older women who are undergoing such treatment has doubled in the past five years.
In Be'er Sheva, the number is up by 76 percent. Steep increases were also seen in the center of the country: In Rishon Lezion, the figure was 76 percent, and in Bat Yam - 60 percent. In Tel Aviv and Bnei Brak the increase was 52 percent.
More moderate increases in the number of women between 40 and 45 who are undergoing fertility treatment were found in Rehovot - 42 percent; in Jerusalem - 37 percent; and Ashkelon - 31 percent.
In Ashdod, the trend was reversed: The city saw a 16 percent decline in fertility treatment among older women.
Maccabi insures about one-quarter of the population and approximately one-third of women undergoing fertility treatment in the country. The HMO reported an increase of 65 percent in pregnancies in the women over 40 whom it insures in the last five years. In 2010, 3,279 women in that age group became pregnant, as opposed to 1,976 in 2005.
The greatest rise in pregnancies among the women insured by Maccabi was in the center of the country - 82 percent. The most moderate rise was in the south (39 percent ).
According to Dr. Ya'akov Segal, Maccabi's chief gynecologist, medical advances and know-how allow women to worry less about trying to get pregnant when they are over the age of 40, whether naturally or through treatment.
Dr. Shahar Kol, head of gynecology in Maccabi's northern district, said the data reflect the rise in the age of marriage, postponement of childbearing, the decreasing quality of sperm, and the rise in Israel of obesity, which frequently accompanies fertility problems.
Kol says people have a false sense of security about the availability of "technology to improve the quality of the eggs of a 40-year-old woman to the level of a 20-year-old woman." He adds that fertility declines after the age of 35 and the chances of a successful pregnancy are "not necessarily connected to technology, but to the quality of the women's eggs."
Kol suggests that resources should be diverted from fertility treatments for women aged 44-45, in which he says the chance of pregnancy is 1 in 100, "to more investment in preserving fertility through the freezing of eggs."
The government does not subsidize in vitro fertilization treatments for women over 45.
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