Female infertility is a dire issue because it not only brings physical trauma but emotional stress and depression too. There are several myths and misconceptions that are associated with infertility. Many times, lack of awareness can cause patients to overlook the reality and they end up aggravating their problems. It is important that they discuss such issues openly with their infertility specialist and get clarity on them.
One big question that patients come across is whether infertility treatment pushes them towards early menopause. The question is raised on the basis of the notion that treatments like IVF involve ovarian stimulation. This means that each cycle involves production of multiple eggs. Logically speaking, this would result in depletion of egg and the woman may end up having early menopause.
The patient might actually think that the treatment may make things worse for her. The fear may be even greater if she undergoes multiple cycles as this translates to loss of greater number of eggs in each cycle. It is important to understand whether her long-term fertility would be compromised with treatment so that she decides what is best for her.
Fertility Treatment and Early Menopause: Myth or Reality
Yes, nature gives every female a limited number of eggs at the time of her birth. The number of these eggs keeps going down with age and comes to an end with menopause. To understand the mechanism, it is important to study her menstrual cycle. Every month, a woman’s body synthesizes FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone) during the menstrual cycle. The hormonal levels increase as the menstrual cycle advances.
FSH is responsible for stimulating the ovaries to produce follicles, the sacs which contain eggs. LH plays a key role in maturation of follicles. The ovaries produce nearly 10-20 follicles during each menstrual cycle, but only one of these emerges as the dominant one. This dominant follicle is the one which carries the mature egg, while the remaining ones disintegrate. The entire cycle involves loss of multiple immature eggs. On the other hand, there is just a single, mature one which is left for reproduction. The same thing happens every month during the natural menstrual cycle. In this way, a woman loses countless eggs during her reproductive cycle.
Infertility treatments like IVF involve ovulation induction, during which she is given injectible FH to stimulate her ovaries. The therapy helps the infertility specialist rescue a larger number of mature follicles during a single cycle. In other words, it turns up multiple oocytes instead of a single one as in a natural cycle. The follicles which would have been otherwise wasted can be harvested and used effectively. The fertility specialist can use these for IVF or egg freezing, as the case may be. Therefore, infertility treatment utilizes the ovarian reserve rather than depletes them.
The Final Word
It can be safely concluded that infertility treatment, in no way, induces early menopause. Even if a woman goes through multiple cycles of ovulation induction, it does not interfere with the natural mechanism of follicle production. The same number of follicles is produced in both natural and induced cycle. The difference is that while all but one follicle die during the natural cycle, a larger number survives during infertility treatment. Effectively, the body loses the same number of follicles.
This means that her ovarian reserve is not affected negatively by fertility medications. In fact, fertility drugs only act on the follicle produced naturally every month. Therefore, the notion that infertility treatment would cause a woman to have early menopause is absolutely baseless. A woman can safely go through multiple treatment cycles without worrying that she would lose her fertility prematurely. It is important to note that the risk of early menopause is high for infertile women. It is not the treatment that may be responsible, but conditions such as endometriosis or hormonal dysfunction may be at blame.
At Gaudium IVF, the top IVF clinic in India, patients can get advanced treatment for female infertility, in addition to comprehensive gynecological care, counseling and support. For a free second opinion, contact Dr Manika Khanna, the leading best IVF doctor in Delhi