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Infertility and Early Menopause

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Early menopause occurs when symptoms of menopause begin to manifest before your early forties, and can be natural, or induced by medical procedures. Symptoms, similar to regular menopause, include hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness, among many others. For some women, early menopause can be a significant problem if they want to have children. Read on to learn more about infertility and early menopause.

Hormones: the Essentials

The ovaries produce three of the essential hormones vital to a woman's reproductive and overall health: estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Approximately 50% of all testosterone is produced in the ovaries. When estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels decline, women may suffer from early menopause or premature ovarian failure. Once early menopause begins, it may become challenging or impossible to become pregnant.

Infertility and Early Menopause

Age is often the critical factor involved in getting pregnant. For women entering perimenopause (the transitional phase leading up to menopause), it is important to research the options available for restoring fertility.

During perimenopause, your body's reproductive system slows down, estrogen and progesterone levels decline, and as a result, your menstrual cycle becomes irregular. Your ovaries release fewer eggs. Ovulation becomes irregular, making it difficult for some women to become pregnant.

What Are my Options?

There are a variety of options for maximizing your chances to get pregnant during early menopause. Just because you are going through menopause does not mean that you can't have children if you want them.

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  • In vitro Fertilization (IVF). With success rates around 25% in women under the age of 40, many women make the decision to turn to in vitro fertilization. The process involves placing a fertilized egg directly into the uterus. Despite its advancements, IVF has only a small window for success, and pregnancy rates begin to decline between the ages of 40 and 42.

  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) Replacement. FSH can help to induce ovulation in some women experiencing perimenopause. Women with adequate ovarian reserves can use FSH injections to help stimulate ovulation and increase their chances of pregnancy when used in combination with IUI (intrauterine insemination). On the downside, pregnancy rates using FSH are only 5% per ovulation cycle and begin to decline after the age of 40.

More Information

Infertility due to early menopause can be difficult to deal with, but fortunately there are a range of options to do it. Click here to read more about how to cope with early menopause.

5 Ways to Cope with Early Menopause

Women may experience menopause before their 40s. This can be a difficult experience, but you are not alone. Find tips on how to deal with this.

Q&A: Early Menopause

Early menopause can be a difficult transitional time in a young woman's life, and may include several symptoms.

Early Onset Menopause Symptoms

Early onset menopause occurs during a woman's early 40s, but symptoms may begin to appear much sooner. Lean how to identify them here.

Sources:
  • BMJ Group. "Menopause: What is it?" Patient Leaflet. 2007.
  • Hopkins, Virginia. Lee, John R. M.D. What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause. New York: Warner Books Inc., 1996.
  • Love, Susan M.D. Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.
  • Martin, Raquel. The Estrogen Alternative. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2000.