Getting pregnant after menopause! Is it possible?

Menopause is one of the biggest milestones affecting a woman’s life and health. A woman’s physical, psychological, and mental health is greatly affected during menopause. What about reproductive health? How does menopause affect your chances of getting pregnant? In this article, I will let you know whether you can pregnant after menopause.

Getting pregnant

Menopause

Menopause occurs when the ovarian reserve starts declining until it is completely depleted. It usually occurs around the age of 51 for most women. Although early menopause can also happen but is a different category as I said in my previous article as early as age 12, or in a woman’s twenties or thirties.

Getting pregnant after menopause

When menopause happens at its normal age of fifty, we must be realistic and know that a spontaneous pregnancy is unlikely to happen. At this age, there is usually low to no ovarian reserve left. Also, the quality of the eggs is greatly reduced, and the possibility of having a normal pregnancy is very low. If pregnancy does happen it will most likely end in a miscarriage or increased risk of Downs syndrome.

Getting pregnant through IVF

Even with advanced fertility treatments, such as IVF and ICSI the likelihood of having a normal viable pregnancy is low. Most embryos at this stage are abnormal and usually end in a miscarriage. In many clinics in Europe and America treatment after the age of 42/44 is only performed using donor eggs. fertility clinics refuse to perform IVF/ICSI after the age of 42 or 44 unless it is done with the use of the donor’s eggs, even if the woman hasn’t reached menopause yet.

Treatments that help in getting pregnant after menopause

– Ovarian rejuvenation with PRP

There are many fertility treatments that are aimed at increasing the chances of improving ovarian stimulation to allow for fertility treatments that can be used after menopause. The PRP is injecting plasma, a fluid rich in platelets and regenerative cells into the ovaries. After this treatment, the ovaries may resume some of their normal activity. This treatment can act as a natural Hormone Replacement Therapy. However, some experiments showed that using this treatment with women after menopause will result in aging eggs with all the problems associated with reduced fertilization and increase abnormalities and miscarriages.

– Ovarian rejuvenation with stem cell injection

Stem cells are regenerative cells extracted from the human body from the fat or bone marrow and are currently used in several experimental treatments and post-menopause fertility treatments. But even with this technique, the same issue as with the above technique is present: the aging and non-viable eggs. In addition, the long-term effects of the treatments if successful on the offspring are still unknown.

Reinjection of ovarian tissue mixed with PRP and/or stem cells   

Another experimental treatment is to finely cut the ovarian tissue, then mix them with PRP and Stem cells before reinjecting them into the abdomen. This method destroys any abnormal pathways that lead to reduced egg production in early menopause

– Sci-Fi-inspired treatments

There is much talk and research within the scientific community about fertility treatments that seem to belong to Sci-Fi movies. Such as synthetic fertilization, using AI, and cloning not needing a sperm or egg to produce embryos. None of these methods have been applied yet and are still subject to research and discussions.

Contraception and conception in women with premature ovarian insufficiency (early menopause)

The most important treatment for women who suffer from premature menopause is HRT, which improves the quality of their health and their lives. However, there hasn’t been yet a 100% successful fertility treatment for women who went through menopause, even if it happened at a young age. It is noteworthy that sometimes a spontaneous pregnancy due to spontaneous ovulation and hence contraception is needed if no conception is desired

Egg freezing 

With the advancement of egg freezing methods, this option became fast and efficient. It is fast becoming one of the main methods to preserve female fertility. I would highly recommend this for women who may need to delay childbearing for whatever reason.

The best age for egg freezing

It is recommended to have it done between the age of 25-35. It can also be performed after 40 but the results and much less promising. It’s like a reproductive insurance policy that may or may not pay out. Meaning it does not guarantee you getting pregnant and most of the time a woman may not need it, but its existence increases one’s assurance.

 

Also read First Gynecologist visit: When and Why?

 

DM FFSRH FRCOG

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