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Giving birth after menopause possible.

Giving Birth After Menopause Possible

NORFOLK, VA. -- Some women who stop ovulating and are postmenopausal according to laboratory tests may be able to deliver healthy babies, a study by infertility experts has found.

Looking at 86 infertility patients who because of premature menopause were enrolled in an egg donation program at the Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine in Norfolk, Va., the researchers found that seven women were able to ovulate again and that three women delivered healthy babies.

David Kreiner, M.D. and colleagues found that the 23 women in the study who had had never ovulated or had periods, a condition called primary ovarian failure, were not able to ovulate. However, among the 63 women who had secondary ovarian failure, meaning that their ovaries had once worked but had failed prematurely because of some biological insult, nearly 5% gave birth. Those women who fared best were the ones who had part of their ovaries removed or had been treated with chemotherapy for cancer.

The researchers hypothesize that sometimes the ovary can regain function, either spontaneously or prodded by drugs; that in some cases a threshold number of eggs have survived. The patients in this study whose ovaries failed because of radiation treatment or chromosomal abnormalities did not regain function.

The authors advise that women with secondary ovarian failure should be warned about the potential of increased genetic defects, even though all infants in this group were healthy.

Although the number of women in this study who delivered babies is small, the implications of the finding may be broader. "Approximately 1% of women over the age of 30 are estimated to have secondary ovarian failure. As more women delay childbearing, an increasing number with ovarian failure are presenting with a desire to become pregnant," the researchers note.
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Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Date:Sep 22, 1989
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