4. Can you get pregnant with premature ovarian insufficiency?
First, it’s important to make the distinction between premature ovarian insufficiency (POI) and early or ‘premature’ menopause. These are not necessarily the same thing, and with POI, you may have occasional periods for years, before being in menopause, where your periods have stopped altogether.
Because there’s still this potential to release an egg – even if very rarely – it is possible to become pregnant, with premature ovarian insufficiency, although the chances are much lower. Around 5-10 per cent of women with unknown causes of POI do ovulate and conceive naturally, or after hormone replacement therapy. This case study provides a helpful example.
IVF with egg donation is the most reliable option for achieving a pregnancy in POI.
IVF success rates are typically low when using your own eggs in POI, unless you have previously frozen eggs e.g. before chemo/radiotherapy.
Occasionally a causing factor of POI – for example a genetic condition – may result in lower quality eggs, however. In this case, your team will likely recommend considering the donor egg option.
Your POI treatment plan, with healthy pregnancy as its goal, can include:
- IVF with or without egg donation
- hormone replacement therapy
- treatment for underlying causes and conditions – for example, treating a thyroid disorder
5. Can ovarian insufficiency be cured?
While it is still possible to get pregnant with POI – and what I’m aiming for with many women on a daily basis – the condition isn’t reversible. We can treat symptoms and associated conditions, and put a plan in place to help you conceive, but there currently isn’t a cure for POI.
A proportion of women with POI may ovulate sporadically, even after diagnosis. And this may result in pregnancy – although, of course, timing natural conception around this would be difficult. But current treatment options will not reverse POI, or trigger your ovaries to function as normal, although research is looking into this e.g. stem cells
Keen to dive deeper? Touch base with myself and the team at Hormone Health and TFP Fertility UK for premature ovarian insufficiency support – whether you suspect it as a factor or have a diagnosis – and next steps, specific to your unique journey.