Receiving the diagnosis of early menopause can be shattering for any woman who had dreams of starting a family. However, there is good news for those who have been diagnosed: according to a New York infertility expert, many women who were diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure (POF) could actually be experiencing Premature Ovarian Aging (POA) instead. The even better news for women with POA is that yes, they are still able to get pregnant.
Diagnostic criteria for early menopause POF is a follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) level of 40.0 mlU/mL and above before the age of 40. High FSH is actually pretty rare – affecting only 1%, meanwhile POA affects about 10%.
Unlike premature ovarian failure, premature ovarian aging is only the decline in ovarian function and does not spell a lifetime of infertility. Women who have been misdiagnosed with POF are commonly encouraged to donate their eggs for IVF. According to Dr. Norbert Gleicher of the Center for Human Reproduction (CHR), patients with POA don’t necessarily need to donate their eggs. “We see an increasing number of POA patients who have been given a POF diagnosis,” says Dr. Gleicher, “They are advised to pursue egg donation very prematurely, in our opinion. A significant minority of those who consult our center after such advice end up conceiving without egg donation!”
To read more on high FSH levels, check out Robyn Nazar, RN’s blog post What is High FSH, Really?