How Early Menopause Impacts Fertility
There is not ample education for women when it comes to early menopause. Our mission at PureOvum egg donor collective in California is to change the narrative and the assumption that early menopause is the end of fertility — and any hope of becoming a parent.
The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) defines menopause as the pivotal moment when a woman reaches 12 consecutive months without having a menstrual period. The transition leading up to menopause is considered early menopause or premature ovarian failure (POF).
How is early menopause and fertility connected? With the termination of normal ovarian function, estrogen levels diminish — and eggs are not released. Infertility is often a common result.
Let’s breakdown who early menopause impacts, the symptoms, and if women can still achieve pregnancy.
Who Does Early Menopause Impact?
Premature ovarian failure (POF) may transpire abruptly over one to two months or increasingly over a annual time frame. Typically, a woman will begin to go through menopause between the ages of 42 and 56. Early menopause refers to the years of transition from regular menstrual cycles to menopause. The development tends to begin sometime between a woman’s mid-40s and her early 50s.
Symptoms of Premature Ovarian Failure
Women who have premature ovarian failure may experience symptoms like menopause, such as hot flashes and irregular or missed periods.
Women who experience the following symptoms typically indicates that the ovaries are producing less estrogen and progesterone:
- Vaginal dryness
- Bladder irritability and worsening of loss of bladder control
- Dry mouth
- Night sweats
- Mood changes
- Restlessness or insomnia
- Diminished sex drive
Early Menopause and Fertility: Can You Get Pregnant?
Women are born with 1 to 2 million eggs. As menopause nears, only about 100 eggs remain. The declining number and quality of eggs, as well as age-related developments, contribute to reduced fertility, even ahead of signs of early menopause.
Although the success rates for a woman in early menopause to become pregnant is lower than younger women, pregnancy can and does happen in women who are in the early menopause phase.
The key to understanding whether you can get pregnant is seeking a premature ovarian failure (POF) diagnosis. Fertility clinics diagnose premature ovarian failure (POF) by reviewing medical history, physical examination, and a simple blood test measuring FSH level, or follicle-stimulating hormone.
If the blood test indicates raised pituitary hormones and that the ovary is not producing estrogen, then this is a distinct sign of early premature ovarian failure (POF). A fertility specialist can also evaluate the ovaries through a transvaginal ultrasound.
Not all women with premature ovarian failure (POF) will encounter ovulatory dysfunction. In some cases, hormone replacement therapy may be an option for you:
- According to RESOLVE, a quick progression of estrogen replacement therapy may lower the FSH to an acceptable value before attempting ovulation induction. Administration of high dose human menopausal gonadotropins has resulted in pregnancy in a small number of cases.
During early menopause, IVF may be able to help a woman achieve pregnancy, depending on the quality of eggs. If you are diagnosed with premature ovarian failure (POF) and are having difficulty getting pregnant, you also have the option for IVF using eggs from a donor.
Learn more about becoming a parent via egg donation.