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New treatment may help women become pregnant after premature menopause

A new fertility treatment may offer hope to women who have entered premature menopause. The technique is said to “reawaken sleeping eggs” that remain in a woman’s ovaries after menopause.

Researchers from Stanford University in California and St. Marianna University in Kawasaki, Japan have pioneered a technique that encourages women’s remaining “sleeping” eggs to mature by stopping the biological “brakes” or signals that keep the eggs in an immature state. They were able to override the signals by drug therapy and by removing and cutting the ovary into strips before returning the ovarian tissue to the woman’s womb. A total of 27 women were treated using this new procedure. In the cases of five of the women, their eggs matured to the point where the eggs could be used in an in vitro fertilization procedure. One woman is currently pregnant after this procedure. Another woman who entered menopause at age 25 has had a healthy baby boy after undergoing this treatment.

This technique is currently experimental and hasn’t been tested on a large number of women. However, the researchers hope that with further refinement of the procedure it could be extended to help women who have been left infertile after cancer treatment to have children. The researchers speculate that this procedure may be used to assist women in their early 40s who have delayed childbearing to have a child, if they have not yet entered menopause.

Learn more about this new technique here.

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