Premature Ovarian Failure
Premature ovarian failure (POF) or primary ovarian insufficiency (POI) describes persistently elevated (menopausal) levels of follicle stimulating hormone occurring prior to age 40. Unlike true menopause, POF/POI may not be permanent in all cases and there is still a small chance that pregnancy can occur.
There are many causes of POF and a full evaluation is warranted. Some causes include genetics such as Turner’s Syndrome or Fragile X permutation, autoimmune, environmental exposure (radiation or chemotherapy), and familial predisposition. A thorough evaluation by a Reproductive Endocrinologist, Infertility Specialist, is very important when this diagnosis is considered.
In many circumstance, women with POF/POI will pursue IVF using donor eggs. When a donor's eggs are used, the IVF cycle success rates equal that of the donor's age group. For example, if the eggs from a 22 yr. old female are used in an IVF cycle with the resultant embryos being placed in a fifty year old woman; success rates equal the 22 yr. old group and are typically high.
In fact, as long as a woman's uterus is intact and healthy and she has no major health problems pregnancies can be produced at almost any age. Most programs have a maximum patient age beyond which they will not conduct donor egg cycles, ours is age 50.