Jayne Torvill's IVF misery revealed - what fertility facts do you need to know now?

IVF sadness for Jayne Torvill and Lisa Faulkner led them to adoption after failed fertility treatment - is it a warning not to leave it too late?

Jayne Torvill and Lisa Faulkner have spoken out about their difficult and heartbreaking experiences of trying to conceive by IVF.

Despite improvements in IVF success rates, in eerily similar stories, both revealed how their desperation to become mums took over their lives before each came to the decision to adopt.Jayne Torvill opened up about her struggle to conceive and lack of success with IVF ©ITV

Jayne, 55, half of the super skating duo Torvill and Dean, broke down on Piers Morgan's Life Stories as she spoke for the first time about her trials to get pregnant and how an ectopic pregnancy left her devastated.

Lisa, 41, explained how she put herself through four rounds of IVF, which left her a 'walking mess' and wiped out her life savings.

And with Anna Friel, 36, admitting she's looking into freezing her eggs for when boyfriend Rhys Ifans is ready to become a dad, we looked at what you need to know about your fertility now.

IVF success rates

The latest figures from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) show that around 25 per cent of IVF cycles using a woman's own, fresh eggs, result in a live baby at the end.

However, success rates are clearly related to age. Women aged 35-37 have a success rate of 32.3 per cent but this decreases with each age group beyond 37.

  • 27.7 per cent for women aged 35-37
  • 20.8 per cent for women aged 38-39
  • 13.6 per cent for women aged 40-42
  • 5.0 per cent for women aged 43-44
  • 1.9 per cent for women aged 45+

For frozen egg (which is what Anna Friel is talking about), success rates were similar for each age group but slightly less successful overall, with around 22 per cent of cycles ending up with a live baby.

Though Anna blithely said she would freeze her eggs, it's not quite as simple as that. Though the actress is more likely than most potential mums to be able to afford several rounds of IVF, the impact on your body and emotions is huge and shouldn't be taken lightly.Lisa Faulkner spent her life savings on four unsuccessful IVF cycles ©Getty

Fertility treatment

Getting fertility treatment on the NHS is sometimes referred to as a 'postcode lottery', as what is available and offered to women depends on where they live and what facilities their local NHS Trust has at its disposal.

Guidelines are that women under 40 should be offered three IVF cycles on the NHS and women between 40 and 42 should be offered one. But in reality this varies between regions and there are other criteria women need to meet to be eligible.


Not ready for babies?

Jayne summed up the problem many women have today, if you replace 'skating' with 'career'.

"As a couple skating together it’s easy for the guy to go off and start a family because it wouldn’t affect his skating, whereas for me it would have stopped what we were doing," she explained.

"So I left it quite late. And I was into my forties by then."Many women are leaving babies later as they concentrate on their careers ©Rex

If you're concerned you'll be in the same boat, the key is to live healthily, paying attention to your diet and exercising regularly. Being overweight can harm fertility and smoking can lower the age at which you menopause, so avoid both.

Keep track of your periods and pay attention to your body. If you have an irregular cycle or any signs of PCOS, getting yourself checked out now could save time and trouble in the future. The same applies to STIs, as some can harm fertility.

Experts have also advised all women of childbearing age to take folic acid supplements in case they get pregnant, as this helps prevent development problems such as spina bifida.


But don't stress. The most important thing about becoming a parent is that you're ready for it and if that means leaving it until your 30s or later then so be it. Stress affects your fertility as much as it does your general wellbeing so try not to worry about distant future plans.

The average age for first time mums is now just before our 30th birthday and plenty of women conceive in their later 30s and even 40s.

Though it's worth being aware of the fertility treatment options available, there's a good chance you won't need them and if you do there is help on hand from experts including fertility-focussed acupuncturists and dieticians, not to mention the ever-improving science behind IVF.