What can be done about premature ovarian failure?


A new method of inducing egg growth in women suffering from infertility due to premature ovarian failure is detailed in a new study from researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine. The technique has been successful for one woman who has given birth and another who is currently pregnant.

What is premature ovarian failure?

Primary ovarian insufficiency, also known as premature ovarian failure, is a condition which creates menopause in women before the age of 40. “Previous research has suggested that these women still have very tiny, primordial primary and secondary follicles, and that even though they are no longer having menstrual cycles they may still be treatable. Our results obtained with our clinical collaborators in Japan make us hopeful that this is a group of patients who can be helped,” explained Aaron Hsueh, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Stanford.

What can be done to reverse the condition?

Researchers used a two-step method, called the IVA method, to re-activate follicles in ovaries. They remove, split and replace the ovary, then introduce a protein which activates a signaling pathway key to the maturation of follicles. When mature follicles were detected through MRI, hormones were introduced to stimulate ovulation. “It’s not known exactly how the follicles are selected for development, or why these follicles stop developing in women with primary ovarian insufficiency. But our treatment was able to awaken some of the remaining primordial follicles and cause them to release eggs,” said Hsueh.

Next, researchers hope to test the method on women with early menopause due to cancer, chemotherapy or radiation and women who are infertile between the ages of 40 and 45. The procedure is in the early stages of development. It will be many years before it is available widely.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


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