04 Oct I have been diagnosed with premature ovarian failure. Will I be able to get pregnant?
Many infertile women are diagnosed with ovarian failure or premature ovarian failure. But this does not mean that they can’t become mothers. The loss of ovarian function is behind many cases of female infertility. This means that the chances of getting a natural pregnancy decreases. However, we must not lose hope. Today, science allows us to apply treatments and techniques that also help these women achieve their desire to be mothers.
What is premature ovarian failure?
Premature ovarian failure occurs when the ovaries gradually stop performing their function in young women. That is, little by little, they are producing less estrogen (the female sex hormone) and a smaller number of oocytes, as well as a lower quality. Premature ovarian failure is considered when the woman stops menstruating before the age of 40 (early menopause).
One of the main repercussions of early ovarian failure is the difficulty or inability to achieve a pregnancy in a natural way. Many women discover that this is their problem when, after months or years trying to get pregnant, they go to a fertility specialist who performs the appropriate tests.
What is the cause of premature ovarian failure?
In 90% of women, the cause of premature ovarian failure remains unknown. In some cases, they may have a family history (their mother, aunts or grandmother having a very young menopause), but it may not be that way either.
Among 10% of women with a detectable cause, it is due:
- Have received an oncological treatment with chemotherapy/radiotherapy. For this reason, some women have trouble conceiving after overcoming a cancer.
- Metabolic or autoimmune diseases, such as hypothyroidism, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus or Addison’s disease.
- Genetic alterations that affect the X chromosome or to specific genes related to the maturation of the ovules.
As you can see, if they detect you to have premature ovarian failure, this is the reason why they’ll likely ask you for a series of tests to rule out different causes. However, there’s a chance your case may not be listed above. In 9 out of 10 women, the reason remains unknown.
To become a mother, what are my options if I have premature ovarian failure?
Premature ovarian failure doesn’t mean you can’t get pregnant. First of all, up to 5-10% of women diagnosed with this problem can achieve a pregnancy by natural means. Moreover, thanks to today’s science and technology, many options are allied to help you become a mother despite these circumstances.
The fertility treatments that are usually performed in women with ovarian failure are:
- In vitro fertilization with your own eggs. In this technique, ovarian stimulation is performed to get the ovary to produce more eggs (which naturally produces 1 every month). For this, your doctor will prescribe a personalized hormonal treatment regimen to suit your specific characteristics. Afterwards, the eggs will be extracted and fertilized in the laboratory, to later transfer the embryos into your uterus.
- In vitro fertilization with egg donation. If your case doesn’t allow the possibility to obtain adequate eggs to achieve an embryo, egg donation is be the best alternative. In this case, anonymous donors give some of their eggs so that other women, like you, get to become mothers.
- Ovarian rejuvenation. Ovarian rejuvenation is a recent concept in assisted reproduction that includes experimental techniques in which the purpose is to activate the few primordial follicles that remain in the ovarian tissue of women with premature ovarian failure. It can be done by two techniques:OFFA (Ovarian Fragmentation for Follicular Activation), which consists of extracting a small part of ovarian tissue by laparoscopic surgery, fragment it and transplant it in the same surgical act, to later perform a controlled ovarian stimulation (in vitro fertilization) ); the other technique involves the injection of stem cells into the ovarian artery. These techniques are in the development phase and are still considered experimental; only very selected patients are offered to go through this technique in very few centers.
In these delicate cases, doubts tend to arise and you probably need advise and information to decide what you should do. In Reproclinic we offer you our knowledge and experience to create the personalized treatment that better suits you. Let us help you!
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