A new treatment could give women who have gone through premature ovarian failure the hope of a baby.
The technique – which has already led to the birth of a baby with another reported ongoing pregnancy – involves a combination of fertility drugs and ovarian dissection.
Premature Ovarian Failure – or ovarian insufficiency - occurs when your ovaries stop working earlier in life than they should. Usually, one follicle develops to maturity each month, releasing an egg for fertilisation.
Premature Ovarian Failure means this doesn’t happen anymore, and although you no longer produce your own eggs, the new treatment discovered by Japanese and US researchers, shows that some women may still have follicles that contain immature eggs. And that these eggs may be able to be stimulated to maturity, enough to be used in IVF treatment.
The new study involved 27 women who all had Premature Ovarian Failure/Ovarian Insufficiency. Out of these women, 13 were found to have immature follicles that could be stimulated, which involved treating samples of the ovary with fertility drugs before implanting it back. Five of these women produced mature eggs good enough to be used in IVF treatment.
Experts are warning that although it is a huge breakthrough, actually using this as a routine, day-to-day clinical treatment for Premature Ovarian Failure is a long way off. Only a small group of women were involved in the study and it didn’t work for all of them. A larger-scale study is now needed to determine and refine the technique.
So what treatment options are there for Premature Ovarian Failure in the meantime? One option that may be recommended in the use of DHEA to try to improve ovarian function.
Another option is the use of a donor egg with IVF to help you have a baby. At Manchester Fertility, we have no waiting list for donor eggs and all of our donors are fully identifiable, from the UK and registered with the HFEA, meaning they have passed the strict criteria needed to be egg donors.