What Are My Options For Becoming Pregnant After Early Menopause
If youve had an early menopause and still want to have children, there are several options that you may be able to try. Fertility treatment is only available on the NHS up to age 40, so its likely youll need to pay for it privately. You may want to book an appointment at a fertility clinic to talk through the possibilities. Youll be able to find an accredited clinic on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority website.
Some of the options may include the following.
- In-vitro fertilisation , using stored or donor eggs, or donor embryos. In IVF, eggs and sperm are mixed in a laboratory, before any resulting embryos are transferred into your womb. You might have stored eggs in advance if your menopause is due to something like cancer treatment. Otherwise, youll need eggs or embryos from a donor. Clinics usually have a list of registered donors, or you may be able to find your own. Your doctor at the fertility clinic can talk you through how this works.
- Surrogacy. This is when another woman carries and gives birth to a baby for you. It may be that the surrogates own egg is fertilised with sperm from the father. Or it could be that either donor eggs and/or donor sperm are used. Fertility clinics in the UK arent allowed to offer services to find surrogates, but they can provide the necessary treatment involved.
You may also want to explore adoption as a potential option for having children.
It Can Help To Think About Ivf Years Before Perimenopause
While in-vitro fertilization is a popular option for many women waiting to start their families, its not an option for everyone. For example, freezing your oocytes before age 35 can contribute to healthier IVF pregnancies and births later in life.4 Starting these conversations earlier with your doctor can help you best match your life stage to your life goals, and stay in control of your reproductive health.
Are There Any Tests For Menopause
The most accurate way to tell if it’s happening to you is to watch your menstrual cycles for 12 months in a row. It helps to keep track of your periods and chart them as they become irregular. Menopause has happened when you have not had any period for an entire 12 months.
Your doctor can check your blood for follicle stimulating hormone . The levels will jump as your ovaries begin to shut down. As your estrogen levels fall, youâll notice hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and less lubrication during sex.
The tissue in and around your vagina will thin as estrogen drops, too. The only way to check for this is through a Pap-like smear, but itâs rarely done. As this happens, you might have urinary incontinence, painful sex, a low sex drive, and vaginal itching.
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What Emotional Support Can I Get If Early Menopause Is Affecting My Fertility
Struggling with fertility problems can be emotionally draining. You may have a partner, friends or family you can rely on. But you may also find it helpful to get support from a counsellor, or people who have been in the same situation.
There are several ways to access this support. All fertility clinics must offer you the opportunity to talk to a counsellor. Some will also give you the chance to talk to other patients who have had similar treatments.
You may also be able to access counselling through your GP, or by referring yourself directly to NHS psychological therapies services. Alternatively, you can opt to see a private counsellor.
Below are some key organisations that can offer support or information about early menopause and fertility problems.
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.
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Getting Pregnant When You’re Older
While it may be more difficult, you can still get pregnant when you’re older. Fertility depends on your ovarian function and your overall health. If you’re ovulating regularly and have good eggs, you’ll probably get pregnant within a year through sex alone. You can visit your doctor early in the process to test your ovarian function and find out if your odds of conceiving naturally are good.
If they are, you can try the “gunshot” method in the beginning. This involves having sex every other day during the middle third of your cycle. Your doctor can help you figure out when this critical time of your cycle happens. If you try the gunshot method for 6 months without success, you may need to start looking into other options such as IVF.
Theres Nothing Wrong With Needing Help In The Lubrication Department
Whether you decide to opt for extra hormones or not, using vaginal moisturizers like Replens and regular ol lube can help ease vaginal discomfort. In fact, Tami Rowen, M.D. an obstetrician and gynecologist specializing in sexual health at the University of California San Francisco, highly recommends using a lubricant to help make sex more enjoyable if you experience vaginal dryness. If youre new to lube, its important to know that there are several types: silicone-based, oil-based, water-based, and hybrids. Generally, water-based lubes that dont contain glycerin are a good choice because theyre suitable for people with sensitive skin. Further, Dr. Rowen suggests buying a lube that mimics the natural pH of your vagina. Changes to its natural state can cause an overgrowth of bacteria and lead to infections like bacterial vaginosis, according to the Cleveland Clinic. . Before heading to the store, you can do research online to find a product that fits within this scale. Dr. Rowen recommends lubes like Almost Naked by Good Clean Love . This one falls between 4.2 – 4.7 on the pH scale, according to the manufacturers website.
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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.
Opinionyour Doctor Doesn’t Know If You Have Perimenopause Because It’s Largely Unstudied
To get through it, I made a few changes. To combat weight gain and potentially uneven moods, I cut out my daily glass of wine . I also found a renewed love for running something Id been doing for 25 years but came to see as extra important for dealing with stress and keeping my bones strong now that estrogen wouldnt be around to safeguard them as much.
Hot flashes? I kept wet washcloths in the freezer and draped one around my neck when a flash came . And as for romance there was no magic fix on that one, but my husband and I worked to spend more quality time together and have more honest conversations .
How To Protect Against Unplanned Pregnancy
To prevent a baby bump on your road to menopause, use an effective, safe and appropriate method of birth control until your menopause is confirmed.
Natural family planning is not recommended for perimenopausal women because irregular periods make predicting ovulation difficult.
Many contraception options exist. Dr. Bembry says vasectomy is the most effective form of birth control, as long as post-procedure care is followed, but admits a lot of men just dont go there.
When considering birth control options, talk to your physician. She can discuss risks, effectiveness rates, perimenopausal symptom relief and even which methods can protect against certain cancers.
Diagnosis Of Premature Or Early Menopause
Premature and early menopause is diagnosed using a number of tests including:
- medical history, family history and medical examination
- investigations to rule out other causes of amenorrhoea , such as pregnancy, extreme weight loss, other hormone disturbances and some diseases of the reproductive system
- investigations into other conditions associated with premature or early menopause, such as autoimmune diseases
- genetic tests to check for the presence of genetic conditions associated with premature or early menopause
- blood tests to check hormone levels.
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What Is The Perimenopause Pregnancy Rate
The chance of conceiving naturally around the perimenopause is very low, usually no more than around 2%, and even techniques such as IVF are limited due to the low number of eggs available and their significantly lower quality compared to younger eggs. In addition, the risk of miscarriage becomes much higher, reaching 50% in women aged 45, as well as the risk of certain congenital abnormalities.
Correcting Myths About Menopause Age And Estrogen
A valuable aspect of this research is that it increases awareness that many women go through menopause earlier than people think, she says. Many people dont know that going through menopause any time after the age of 40 is considered normal. Between 40 and 45 is normal, its just early, she says.
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Its Best Not To Ignore Any Changes That Cause You Distress
You may cringe at the thought of talking to your gynecologist about sex. But rest assured, there is no reason to feel awkward. If you’re dealing with these changes and are very much unhappy with them, talk to your doctor. Right now, this may be a conversation that needs to take place via telehealth due to the pandemic. If you feel dismissed, then Dr. Rowen encourages you to consider switching to another provider if at all possible. Go find someone who will listen to you and take your problems seriously, Dr. Rowen says. Together, you can come up with a treatment plan that may help you have a more fulfilling sex life, even after menopause.
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Menopause Reversal Restores Periods And Produces Fertile Eggs
Women who have already passed through the menopause may be able to have children following a blood treatment usually used to heal wounds
Never too old?
MENOPAUSE need not be the end of fertility. A team claims to have found a way to rejuvenate post-menopausal ovaries, enabling them to release fertile eggs, New Scientist can reveal.
The team says its technique has restarted periods in menopausal women, including one who had not menstruated in five years. If the results hold up to wider scrutiny, the technique may boost declining fertility in older women, allow women with early menopause to get pregnant, and help stave off the detrimental health effects of menopause.
It offers a window of hope that menopausal women will be able to get pregnant using their own genetic material, says Konstantinos Sfakianoudis, a gynaecologist at the Greek fertility clinic Genesis Athens.
It is potentially quite exciting, says Roger Sturmey at Hull York Medical School in the UK. But it also opens up ethical questions over what the upper age limit of mothers should be.
The age of motherhood is creeping up, and more women are having children in their 40s than ever before. But as more women delay pregnancy, many find themselves struggling to get pregnant. Women who hope to conceive later in life are increasingly turning to IVF and egg freezing, but neither are a reliable back-up option .
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What About Hormonal Birth Control Pills
Streicher has questions about this conjecture by the authors. Take a woman who is on birth control pills as an example If youre talking about things that are going to give your ovaries a rest, pregnancy and breastfeeding would fall into that category, but so would birth control pills, says Streicher.
When youre on birth control pills, your ovaries are in resting mode, but women who are on birth control pills havent been shown to go through menopause any later, she says. “The whole concept that that youre going to give your ovaries a rest by breastfeeding and pregnancy and thats somehow going to protect them to me doesnt necessary make sense from a scientific perspective,” she adds.
The takeaway from this research is that, based on the findings, it does appear that women who breastfed and had pregnancies tended to go through menopause a little bit later, but were still not sure why that is, says Streicher.
Opinionaging Is A Woman’s Secret Power And The Data Proves It
I wouldnt know how to function outside of a big, generationally anomalous family, where I sometimes identify more with my nieces than my sisters. And Ive loved defying expectations and going my own way whether its not changing my last name, working for myself or reversing traditional gender roles when my husband became a stay-at-home dad a dozen years ago. All told, the experience of zigging where others zag has been tremendous. Ive found my greatest joys by skirting away from the expected.
Thats why Im now thinking early menopause may be my greatest opportunity yet.
First, as a writer who specializes in writing about honesty, this experience offers a chance to speak with candor about a thing so many people dont want to talk about. If the prevailing wisdom is, “Shhh, dont talk about hot flashes,” you can bet Im going to tell everyone about them. I believe we should talk openly about the things that happen with our bodies to combat shame, embarrassment and just plain disinformation.
Dealing with menopause right now also puts me squarely in my body at a time of pandemic threat, where taking care of your health is more important than ever. No symptom is going to escape my watch, and Ill do what I can to keep myself and loved ones safe but active.
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Symptoms Of The Menopause
Most women will experience menopausal symptoms. Some of these can be quite severe and have a significant impact on your everyday activities.
Common symptoms include:
- reduced sex drive
- problems with memory and concentration
Menopausal symptoms can begin months or even years before your periods stop and last around 4 years after your last period, although some women experience them for much longer.
Treatment For Early Or Premature Menopause
There is no treatment available to make the ovaries start working again.
Rarely, the ovaries may spontaneously start working again, for reasons unknown. According to some studies, about one in 10 women who are diagnosed with premature ovarian insufficiency get pregnant, for reasons that are not yet clear.
Women with early menopause have a long period of postmenopausal life, which means they are at increased risk of health problems such as early onset of osteoporosis and heart disease. For this reason, it is recommended that they take some form of hormone therapy until they reach the typical age of menopause . This may be the combined oestrogen and progestogen oral contraceptive pill, or menopausal hormone therapy .
Either option treats menopausal symptoms and reduces the risk of early onset of osteoporosis and heart disease.
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For Eileen The Freedom From Periods And Pregnancy Was The Most Positive Aspect Of The Menopause
The most positive aspects of the menopause for me have beenNever having to have another period and the knowledge that you know there is absolutely no chance Im ever going to get pregnant because I think that that would be very difficult. I know there are women who in their late 50s, early 60s have had children by choice but I would find that very wearing and I certainly would not want that, and I would not want to turn my life upside down which maybe people would say is a selfish thing but I think its also difficult for a child with older parents.
What Perimenopause Means For Fertility
Perimenopause. The word itself made me shiver. How could the word menopause be associated with me?
According to the Mayo Clinic, perimenopause means around menopause and begins for most women in their 40s. It is also called the menopausal transition. I looked and felt like I was in my early to mid-30s, but FSH levels indicated my eggs were the age of someone a decade older than me. My fertility doctor explained that about 1% to 2% of women hit perimenopause at my age. I could technically still become pregnant, but it would be a miracle.
How would I have approached my fertility process differently had I known Id become perimenopausal in my late 30s? I believed I had plenty of time to easily conceive, but it turned out my mom had entered menopause at 42in fact we had a strong history of early menopause in my family. Had I understood this, I would have likely frozen a dozen eggs as opposed to four, and I definitely would have had my FSH checked yearly, if not every six months. I certainly would have consulted with a fertility specialist sooner.
Faced with the prospect of my aging eggs, it was time to thaw the eggs Id frozen six years earlier. After months of trying to expand our family, my eggs were defrosted, made into embryos, two of which were viable, and transferred to my uterus. This was it.
But two weeks later, I took a pregnancy test. It was positive. Im pregnant, I said in utter disbelief that those words were mine.
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