With The Advent Of Assisted Reproductive Techniques It Is Now Physiologically Possible For Post
By Dr Vaishali Chaudhary
We often read about celebrity mothers like Naomi Campbell, who became a mother at the age of 50 years or a 74-year-old, Erramatti Mangayamma from Andhra Pradesh, who holds the record for being the oldest woman to give birth by IVF.
Is it possible for a mother to become pregnant after menopause? Pregnancy happens as a result of the fertilisation of the egg by the sperm. So to achieve a pregnancy, the availability of the egg and the sperm is the most basic requirement. Menopause, which means stopping periods, is preceded by the depletion of the eggs. Hence, natural pregnancy is not possible after menopause.
Pregnancy can be possible after menopause if:
i) A woman opts to freeze her eggs while she was younger and utilise them for pregnancy in her later years
ii) If she uses donor eggs
iii) A recently devised procedure of Ovarian Rejuvenation, which is still under experimentation.
IVF with donor eggs is a very successful procedure for those women who have not been able to freeze their eggs earlier while they were young or women who have planned their pregnancy after menopause or in women who unfortunately suffer from premature ovarian failure, where the ovaries stop producing eggs at an early age.
Risks of a pregnancy in a menopausal woman
Your Libido Might Dip Thanks To Menopause
Its not universal, but some people with menopause report decreased libido, says Dr. Pizarro. Issue is, it’s tough for doctors to figure out how to combat a lowered sex drivethe cause isnt exactly easy to pinpoint. For decades, weve blamed loss of libido on a womans ovaries or hormones, says Libido is such a complicated thing that goes way beyond issues of the ovaries, uterus, and hormones, says Dr. Pizarro.
Beyond whatever mysterious physiological changes might affect someones libido at this life stage, adjusting to menopause’s physical changes might play a role. Adequate exercise helps make sure your blood is flowing properly, which is an essential part of getting wet during sex.
I Was Diagnosed With Premature Ovarian Failure At 22
Most women would expect their menopause to start around their 40s, and so plot out the time for when theyd like to start trying for babies. But for the then 22-year-old Kim, her future was bleak: she was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure- which, in her words, meant she had early menopause. Yet Kim was not to be deterred she promised that she would do whatever it took to start a family of her own.
When she got married three years later, she and her husband were eager to immediately try conceiving. But two years passed without incident, and she started to lose hope. But her surprise came when her mothers gynecologist shared her story and a doctor insisted that she can absolutely carry a baby, only that she needed a fertility treatment center. A glimmer of hope appears! She and her husband started looking for donor eggs, because sadly that was the only way they could conceive. Her first pregnancy was also a loss- they lost the baby at nine weeks. But again, Kim was determined. After three months, they tried again, and finally- their daughter Reese was conceived and born! What an inspiring story!
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Exclusive: Menopausal Women Become Pregnant With Their Own Eggs
Two women thought to be infertile have become pregnant using a technique that seems to rejuvenate ovaries, New Scientist can reveal. It is the first time such a treatment has enabled menopausal women to get pregnant using their own eggs.
I had given up hope on trying to get pregnant, says one of the women, WS, who is now six months pregnant. To me, its a miracle.
The approach is based on the apparent healing properties of blood. Kostantinos Sfakianoudis and his colleagues at the Genesis Athens Clinic in Greece draw blood from their patients and spin it in a centrifuge to isolate platelet-rich plasma. This has a high concentration of the cell fragments usually involved in blood clotting, and is already used to speed the healing of sports injuries, although its effectiveness for this purpose is unclear.
The clinic is attempting to use this plasma to repair womens reproductive systems, injecting it directly into the ovaries and uterus. So far, the team has given this experimental treatment to more than 180 women, many of whom sought treatment because they have a disorder that damages the lining of the uterus.
But the team has also used the treatment in an effort to rejuvenate the organs of 27 menopausal and peri-menopausal women, between the ages of 34 and 51.
Can You Get Pregnant During Menopause
Puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, perimenopause and menopause. These are the various stages in a womans biological cycle. One leads to the other, while pregnancy can happen at any time during a womans years of fertility.
The chances of getting pregnant come down as the woman crosses 35 years. By her 40s, the perimenopause is likely to begin and is followed by menopause, which is usually the end of the reproductive phase.
But could you get pregnant during the perimenopausal or menopausal stage? In this MomJunction post, we tell you about menopause, the possibility of getting pregnant during this phase, and the risks involved.
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Menopause When Youre On Birth Control
Thereâs no test to tell if youâve gone through menopause yet or not. The best way to tell is through your period.
Youâve most likely gone through menopause if youâre over 50 years old and havenât had a period in more than 1 year, or if youâre under 50 years old and havenât had a period in more than 2 years. But you may not be able to tell if youâve reached menopause if youâre still on birth control.
Hormonal birth control may hide some of the symptoms of menopause, such as an abnormal period, hot flashes, or night sweats. If you take combination pills , even after menopause, you may continue to bleed similarly to how you would on your period. This can make it hard to tell if youâve gone through menopause and whether youâre still able to get pregnant.
How Do You Know You’re In Postmenopause
Your healthcare provider will be able to tell you if you’re in postmenopause based on your symptoms and how long it’s been since your last menstrual period. In some cases, your healthcare provider will take a blood sample and check your hormone levels to confirm you’ve gone through menopause. Remember, you’re not considered to be through menopause until it’s been over one year since youve had a period.
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In Vitro Fertilization After Menopause
IVF after menopause has been successfully demonstrated.
Postmenopausal eggs are no longer viable, but there are still two ways you can take advantage of IVF. You can use eggs you had frozen earlier in life, or you can use fresh or frozen donor eggs.
You will also need hormone therapy to prepare your body for implantation and to carry a baby to term.
When compared with premenopausal women, postmenopausal women are more likely to experience both minor and major complications of pregnancy after IVF.
Depending on your overall state of health, IVF after menopause may not be an option for you. Its worth consulting with a fertility expert who has worked with postmenopausal women.
Can A Woman Get Pregnant After Menopause
Night sweats, hot flashes, mood, skin and body changes, spotting, irregular menstrual periods or no menstrual periodsis it menopause or perimenopause, pregnancy, or something else? When our bodies are showing signs of change or were having abnormal symptoms of things we cant fully explain, we start making guesses as to what may be happening.
Perimenopausal changes can start in your late 30s and 40s, so if youre starting to experience changes in your body, it could mean your body is preparing for menopause. But if youre nearing or in your 40s and wondering if you can still get pregnant, the simple answer is yes, but the chances are slim.
If youve already hit menopause and are wondering if you can still get pregnant, the simple answer is that its highly unlikely, but not impossible. All of these answers relate to fertility in women, which is very different from fertility in men. Although men can produce viable sperm into their 60s, women typically dont have successful pregnancies past their mid-40s.
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What Happens After Menopause
After menopause you will no longer be able to get pregnant and you will no longer get a period. If you have any type of vaginal bleeding after menopause, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Vaginal bleeding after menopause is not normal and can mean that you have a serious health problem.
You may experience any of the following after menopause:
- Low hormone levels. With menopause, your ovaries make very little of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Because of changing hormone levels, you may develop certain health risks, including osteoporosis, heart disease, and stroke.
- Menopause symptoms instead of period problems. After menopause, most women get relief from period problems or menopause symptoms. However, you may still experience symptoms such as hot flashes because of changing estrogen levels. One recent study found that hot flashes can continue for up to 14 years after menopause.6,7
- Vaginal dryness. Vaginal dryness may be more common post-menopause. Learn more about treatments for vaginal dryness.
How Do You Confirm Menopause
There isnt a specific test to confirm when menopause will happen. Doctors officially diagnose menopause once a woman hasnt had a period for 12 consecutive months. Your doctor can order tests to determine FSH and estrogen levels. Your vaginal pH becomes less acid during menopause, which can be confirmed through a vaginal swab.
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Should I Continue Using Birth Control During The Transition To Menopause
Yes. You can still get pregnant during perimenopause, the transition to menopause, even if you miss your period for a month or a few months. During perimenopause you may still ovulate, or release an egg, on some months.
But it is impossible to know for sure when you will ovulate. If you dont want to get pregnant, you should continue to use birth control until one full year after your last period. Talk to your doctor about your birth control needs. Learn more about different birth control methods.
You cant get pregnant after menopause, but anyone who has sex can get sexually transmitted infections . If you are not in a monogamous relationship in which you and your partner have sex with each other and no one else, protect yourself by using a male condom or dental dam correctly every time you have vaginal, oral, or anal sex. After menopause you may be more likely to get an STI from sex without a condom. Vaginal dryness or irritation is more common after menopause and can cause small cuts or tears during sex, exposing you to STIs.
Health Risks For Pregnancies Later In Life
Health risks in pregnancy increase with age. After age 35, the risks of certain problems rise in comparison to younger women. These include:
- Multiple pregnancy, especially if you have IVF. Multiple pregnancies can result in early birth, low birth weight, and difficult delivery.
- Gestational diabetes, which can cause health problems for both mom and baby.
- High blood pressure, which requires careful monitoring and possibly medication to ward off complications.
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How Is Premature Menopause And Primary Ovarian Insufficiency Treated
Management of the condition can vary depending on why menopause started earlier than normal. Given the health risks associated with early menopause, hormone replacement therapy is routinely recommended to all women with premature menopause or primary ovarian insufficiency, unless there is a compelling reason it cant be used. There is a lot of confusion about the safety of hormone therapies. Many of the risks of hormone therapy used after natural menopause are not thought to apply to women who have premature menopause. It is important to discuss the pros and cons of hormone therapy with your doctor. Some healthcare providers have additional certification in the management of menopause, and these providers will be a valuable resource when receiving conflicting information about the safety of hormone therapy.
Postmenopause And In Vitro Fertilization
When you reach postmenopause, your hormone levels are no longer suitable for ovulation and natural pregnancy, and birth control isnt necessary anymore. However, there is still a chance you could get pregnantthrough in vitro fertilization .
IVF after menopause has proven to be successful in many cases. It can be done using your own eggs that you had frozen earlier in life, or by using a donors eggs . This process will require you to undergo hormone therapy to prepare your body for the implantation process and to carry the baby to term.
However, be aware that postmenopausal women are much more likely to experience minor to major complications of pregnancy after IVF compared to premenopausal women.
IVF after menopause isnt an option for everyone. It depends greatly on your overall state of health and a doctor should be able to tell you whether or not its an option for you.
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Or You Might Find That Youre Not As Interested In Sex And Be Totally Fine With That
A lot of my patients who are many years past menopause report that their lives have changed in that way: The emphasis on and impact of sexual intercourse arent what they were before, says Pizarro. When talking through potential treatment options, many of his patients decide its not a big enough deal for them to pursue a medical solution to lowered libido. Its just not something that concerns them. Their life has transitioned to a point where theyre more focused on spending time with their partner or traveling, he explains.
Do You Need Contraceptives During Perimenopause
Unless you are absolutely sure you are in full menopause, getting pregnant is still a possibility and therefore contraceptives are essential. Whether you are using birth control or other methods of contraception, if you want to be sure you still need to use it. Some studies have found that over 75% of pregnancies in women over 40 are unplanned, so its important to assume you are fertile, unless proven otherwise.
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When To Stop Your Birth Control
In most cases, you should stop the combined pill when youâre at the age of 50. Women in this age group may have other health issues that could make it dangerous to use. Talk to your doctor to see if itâs safe for you to use it if youâre 50 or older.
If you donât want to be on the combined pill anymore but still want protection against pregnancy, you can use a progestogen-only pill or other forms of birth control, like condoms. If youâre over the age of 55, you can probably stop hormonal methods since your chances of pregnancy are very low. But to be safe, donât stop any type of birth control until you havenât had a period for a full year.
Mayo Clinic: âPerimenopause,â âCombination birth control pills,â âRhythm method for natural family planning,â âPerimenopause birth control: What are my options.â
The North American Menopause Society: âContraception: You Need It Longer Than You May Think.â
NHS.uk: âHow do I know I’ve reached menopause if I’m on the pill?â
CDC: âWhen Women Can Stop Using Contraceptives.â
And Keep In Mind That You Can Still Get Pregnant Even After The Menopause Process Starts
Because menopause is defined by not having a period for 12 months straight, when you’re perimenopausal, or transitioning towards menopause, your period may go MIA but then make a comeback at some point. Some people have breakthrough bleeding or periods in between, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. And while that doesnt necessarily mean that youve ovulated, it could mean that you have. And that means you could potentially get pregnant.
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Menopause Can Have Mental And Emotional Effects Too
Most people dont like their period, but when it goes away you feel your age, Dr. Rowen tells SELF. For some people, the idea of losing their period can be psychologically distressing.And as we mentioned, your hormones, specifically estrogen and progesterone, change during menopause. And this change may cause feelings of anxiety and depression. Lower estrogen can also trigger hot flashes that make it difficult to sleep, leading to mood swings and anxiety. Coupled with any emotional distress from losing your period, and you understandably may not be in the mood to have sex. If you feel down for more than two weeks, you may be depressed and want to speak with a therapist, the Cleveland Clinic recommends. However, finding a therapist can be a long, and often stressful, process. . Generally, you will want to start by asking your insurance company for a list of providers. If you dont have insurance, websites like Open Path include therapists who offer reduced-fee sessions.
When To Take A Pregnancy Test During Menopause
Many symptoms of menopause are similar to those of pregnancy. If you get pregnant, you wont have a period, but you may experience some light spotting that could be mistaken for a period.
You could experience other symptoms like mood swings, problems sleeping, fatigue and headaches, which can also happen in the perimenopause and menopause. When you are pregnant you may also feel sick or vomit , pee more often and have tender breasts. And in perimenopause and menopause its also common to report bladder changes .
If youre sexually active and experience any of these symptoms, its important to do a pregnancy test. This can be done at home or by your doctor.
Home pregnancy tests are available from the pharmacy and measure the levels of the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin in your pee. Its present in higher levels if youre pregnant. A positive test result is almost certainly correct. Negative test results can be less reliable.
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