Premature Ovarian Failure

IVF babyPremature ovarian failure (POF) is a term for reduced ovarian function occurring before age 40. While women are born with a lifetime supply of eggs, those with POF experience a loss of available eggs as early as their twenties or thirties. Premature ovarian failure can also be referred to as premature ovarian insufficiency (POI).

Symptoms of Premature Ovarian Failure

POF is often equated with menopause since many of the symptoms are similar, but the conditions are not the same. Menopause naturally happens around age 51, with early menopause seen between ages 40-50. Premature ovarian failure begins before age 40 and, although it is possible for women with POF to become pregnant, it is more difficult.

Unlike women who have completed menopause, women with POF still have occasional, irregular menstrual periods. Other symptoms of premature ovarian failure can include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Diminished sex drive
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Irritability
  • Infertility

Evaluation of Premature Ovarian Failure

Tests can be performed to determine ovarian reserve (the function of the ovaries). A severe reduction in egg supply dramatically reduces the chance of a woman becoming pregnant naturally.

  • Day 3 FSH and Estradiol Levels – Performed on day 3 of the menstrual cycle, FSH, LH, estradiol, AMH and other reproductive hormones are measured to evaluate ovarian reserve and egg quality.
  • Clomid Challenge – A patient can take Clomid 100 mg on days 5 through 9 of their cycle.  FSH levels are measured on days 3 and 10.  If the ovaries are responsive, only a small amount of FSH will be produced. Higher levels of FSH indicate a lower ovarian reserve.

Treatment of Premature Ovarian Failure

When testing reveals severely compromised ovarian function or reserve, IVF with donor eggs is often the recommended treatment plan.

The Donor Egg Program at Dallas-Fort Worth Fertility Associates is one of the largest in Texas. Our physicians serve patients in Southlake, Keller, Grapevine, Colleyville, Denton, and the other areas throughout Texas.

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