Early menopause or «premature ovarian insufficiency» describes a condition where the function of the ovaries is reduced and they produce mature oocytes significantly less often than normally (every month). The term “premature ovarian insufficiency” is used when the woman is under 40. The important thing in this case is that, although more difficult, getting pregnant is possible.
CAN IN VITRO FERTILIZATION CAUSE EARLY MENOPAUSE?
There are myths that the treatment of infertility by in vitro fertilization causes a serious side effect — early menopause. These perceptions are due to the fact that controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COHS) aims at the maturation of 10-20 follicles, instead of 1-2, as in a normal menstrual cycle, thus hypothetically reducing the ovarian reserve.
The truth is that during a normal menstrual cycle (one without COHS), approximately 10-20 follicles begin to mature in a woman’s ovaries but only 1-2 reach ovulation . The rest are simply absorbed by the body.
Another reason for the early menopause myth are some side effects caused by fertility medications: fluid retention, mood swings, hot flashes, headache. These unpleasant sensations largely resemble the symptoms of menopause, but disappear after finishing your fertility treatment.
In conclusion, no, IVF does not cause early menopause. On the contrary, it is an opportunity for women suffering from this problem to become mothers.
Premature ovarian insufficiency can have many causes. Depending on your diagnosis, your obstetrician-gynecologist will inform you about the possible solutions in your case.
If you are undergoing cancer treatment, we advise you to freeze your eggs before the treatment begins. According to the Center for Assisted Reproduction’s new regulations, the state will now finance egg freezing for cancer patients. The reason is that frozen eggs can be stored for years and their quality corresponds to your age at the time of freezing. In other words, they are of better quality, not only because they have not been exposed to the toxic effects of chemo- or radiation therapy, but also because of their younger biological age.
If your obstetrician-gynecologist decides that you can try IVF with your own eggs, it must be taken into account that when the ovarian reserve is exhausted, both the number and the quality of the eggs are reduced.
There are other options for conception, such as using donor eggs. You can use an egg from an anonymous donor or from a relative. New Life Medical Center has a donor egg program. We work with one of the largest donor egg banks in Europe to offer you more opportunities to make your dream come true.
If you’re keen to start planning your family, it’s a good idea to check your ovarian reserve. Anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) is considered the most objective hormonal indicator of ovarian reserve. The test can be done in any laboratory, on any day of your menstrual cycle.
If you think that you might be at risk of premature ovarian failure, we recommend that you schedule an appointment with a reproductive specialist.