There’s been much in the news lately about how doctors can delay menopause for up to 20 years. One procedure has just become available at a clinic in Birmingham. Doctors at the ProFam (short for Protecting Fertility and Menopause) are able to remove a piece of ovary via keyhole surgery, freeze it and then re-implant it when a woman’s natural menopause occurs.The implanted tissue then produces hormones that reverse the menopause. These grafts can maintain a woman’s youthful hormone production for years.
This procedure has been used before to help young cancer patients who have gone into premature menopause because of chemotherapy, who want to recover their fertility. Now it is being offered to more women who can pay to have their ovarian tissue removed up to the age of 40 and stored for use when they reach menopause. The average age for women to reach menopause is 51. The hormonal changes can affect quality of life and cause adverse effects such as strokes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, not to mention hot flushes, depression, mood swings and memory loss.
So whilst this breakthrough procedure to delay menopause could enable women to have babies into their 50s, it could also benefit women whose menopause triggered health issues and who were reluctant to use HRT because of harmful side effects. Women who did not want to become pregnant could have the ovarian tissue re-implanted anywhere with a strong blood supply, such as the armpit.
Children born in the West today can reasonably expect to live up to 100, so for the first time women will be living for as long after menopause as before it. Medical procedures like these can help women to break free from the constraints of their biology, by calling time on their biological clock.