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Getting pregnant with early menopause and egg freezing explained

By Annabelle Gauntlett

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Inverness Courier reporter, Annabelle Gauntlett, was diagnosed with early menopause at 15.
Inverness Courier reporter, Annabelle Gauntlett, was diagnosed with early menopause at 15.

Getting pregnant with premature ovarian insufficiency (POI), also known as early menopause, can be challenging both physically and emotionally, however there are a range of options available for women struggling.

Early menopause is when your periods stop before the age of 45. It can happen naturally or be caused by treatment for other conditions. Symptoms of early menopause can include, hot flushes, anxiety, brain fog, low mood and no periods.

If you have experienced any of these symptoms, it is important to seek advice from your GP as these are primary signs of menopause. However, these symptoms must be identified sooner rather than later in order to freeze any eggs that might be left which will enable you to conceive your own biological child.

It’s important to remember that an early menopause diagnosis doesn’t mean you should give up your hope of starting a family. Although it’s not impossible to become pregnant naturally with menopause, it is very unlikely. That being said, there are fertility treatment options available.

For women who have frozen their eggs, and early menopause is as a result of surgery or cancer treatment, IVF treatment using your own eggs is an option.

However, for women with early menopause as a result of genetics or an autoimmune disease, a different route may be recommended as there will usually not be enough high quality eggs available in the ovaries to use.

The most commonly recommended option in these cases is to become pregnant using IVF and donor eggs. In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is one of several techniques available to help people with fertility problems have a baby.

During IVF, an egg is removed from the woman's ovaries and fertilised with sperm in a laboratory. The fertilised egg, called an embryo, is then returned to the woman's womb to grow and develop.

The eggs can be fertilised with your partner’s sperm, or using a sperm donor with Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI). ICSI is an IVF technique in which a single sperm is injected into the centre of an egg.

Studies have demonstrated that your chance of a successful outcome using frozen-thawed eggs is the same as using fresh eggs in ICSI treatment. Of course, in your case, the biological age of your eggs will be younger than you at the time of treatment. This should increase your chance of a successful outcome compared to other women in your age group using their own fresh eggs.

There is no evidence that any babies resulting from thawed eggs have an increased risk of harm or abnormality or that the pregnancy itself is at more risk because a frozen / thawed egg has been used.

For those looking to explore their fertility options available, there are plenty of specialists and resources available in Inverness, including one independent fertility nurse specialist, Morven Kinnear-MacLennan, who offers specialist consolations via Wild Rae Holistic Health.

Alternatively, if you are looking for menopause support, but struggling with your local GP, Menopause Health Highland offer tailored support to ensure you’re supplied the right treatment suited to your needs and symptoms.

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