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premature ovarian failure
high fsh levels
estrogen levels
thyroid problems
mood swings
female population
Premature Ovarian Failure And Ivf
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The term Premature Ovarian Failure refers to the condition where women under the age of 40 experience lowered ovarian function.  The symptoms of "POF" include a sporadic menstrual cycle, with women experiencing this condition exhibiting high FSH levels and lowered estrogen levels.  In addition, many women begin to experience classic menopausal symptoms including hot flashes, night sweats, energy loss and mood swings.

Even under normal circumstances, these symptoms can adversely affect the quality of life.  However, when trying for a baby, whether through conventional means or by IVF, then premature ovarian failure has an added significance. It is believed that between 1 and 4% of the female population will have POF.  Of course, it is difficult to accurately determine the number as it will often go unreported. 

Once the decision has been made to start a family, or have an additional family member, failure to conceive can be devastating. This often leads couples to seek help.  It is then a further blow to discover premature ovarian failure is the cause as this limits options as far as IVF and other assisted fertility techniques are concerned.

All women are normally born with a sufficient supply of follicles which will later mature to become eggs.  During the teen years, a woman will normally begin menstruating which is a sign that follicles are maturing into eggs and being released each month. This process usually goes on until a woman reaches her fifties, at which point the supply of follicles will be exhausted and this signals the start of the menopause.

In women with POF, the ovaries stop functioning earlier due either to depletion or dysfunction. This then brings about menopausal symptoms and other associated health issues including the possibility of osteoporosis, thyroid problems and heart disease.

The absence of healthy follicles and eggs means that infertility is a major consequence of premature ovarian failure.  IVF, unless undertaken using donor eggs, is not possible.  However, some indications suggest that a small number of women (somewhere between 5 and 10%) will spontaneously ovulate and go on to achieve a normal conception and pregnancy.  It is not known why this happens or what can be done to influence ovulation in women with POF.

IVF patients with premature ovarian failure can still undergo the procedure providing the woman is agreeable to using donor eggs or donated embryos and there is no reason to suggest that the failure rates for this procedure are any higher than for women who can use their own eggs.

If you would like to learn more about premature ovarian failure and IVF, please visit my website, Improve the Success of IVF


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