Houston Fertility Center

Pregnancy is Possible: IVF and Premature Menopause

By Sonja Kristiansen, MD on July 27, 2020

Medical equipment used for IVF

For some women, premature menopause can prevent them from naturally conceiving. If you are such a woman, Dr. Sonja B. Kristiansen may be able to assist with IVF treatment so that you can become pregnant and experience the joys of motherhood. If you would like more information about IVF and premature menopause and live in Houston, TX, or Sugar Land, TX, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Kristiansen. We may be able to help. 

About Premature Menopause

Premature menopause occurs when a woman experiences a loss of normal ovarian function before the age of 40. With premature menopause, the ovaries fail to produce estrogen in levels that are typically expected in women of this age.

Where menopause traditionally begins when menstruation ends, women with premature menopause may experience occasional periods and ovulation. Because they may still ovulate and release eggs, it is possible for some women to become pregnant. 

This condition may be caused by genetics or by certain medical conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease or rheumatoid arthritis. Surgeries in which the ovaries or uterus are removed can also trigger premature menopause.  

IVF and Pregnancy for Premature Menopause

Women with premature menopause who have had difficulty naturally conceiving may find success with IVF treatment. IVF is a fertility treatment in which eggs are removed from a woman's body and combined with sperm in the lab. Fertilized eggs can then be stored for later use or placed in the uterus in hopes that pregnancy will occur. 

Whether or not IVF is appropriate for your needs will depend on the number of fertile eggs you still have, also known as your ovarian reserve. Dr. Kristiansen can perform a number of tests to make this determination. If IVF seems like a good fit, she can also monitor the ovaries with ultrasound to identify the optimal time for egg removal and fertilization.

Fertilized eggs are allowed a few days to mature, at which point embryos may be placed within the uterus or stored until a later date.

IVF with Donor Egg

Some women with premature menopause do not ovulate and cannot release eggs. Because of this, eggs cannot be harvested from the patient herself for IVF. However, it is still possible for women who do not produce eggs to experience pregnancy with a donor egg. 

During egg donation, an egg is harvested from a donor, who may be a friend or someone from a donation agency. The donor egg may be combined with sperm from a donor or from the intended mother's partner. 

The fertilized egg is given time to mature. Once ready, the resulting embryo can then be placed into the intended mother's uterus, where if implantation is successful, pregnancy will result.

Is IVF Right for You?

If you live in or around Houston and would like more information about IVF or want to find out if it is right for your fertility needs, we welcome you to schedule an appointment online at the Houston Fertility Center or to call us at (713) 862-6181. 

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