THE BLOG

Menopause at 70? Freeze Ovary at 35

10/31/2013 06:26 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

For women in perimenopause or menopause, whether or not to take estrogen is one of the biggest challenges faced. Is it safe? Which one? What route? How much? How long?

I recently interviewed Dr. Jehoshua Dor at the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). Dor, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Sackler School of Medicine in Tel Aviv University, Israel and an internationally respected researcher, explains how a woman can freeze a piece of her ovary while she is young and have it replaced in perimenopause to avoid going through menopause and never need to take hormones. Here is what he had to say.

He developed a ground-breaking method to restore fertility in patients who went through menopause due to chemotherapy. These women were in their 30s and 40s and wanted to have children in the future. To preserve their fertility, Dr. Dor performed a laparoscopy and took a small piece of tissue from the ovary and cut it into strips and froze those strips so that it could be replaced back into the woman's ovary via laparoscopy after she recovered from her disease.

Following replacement of the ovarian tissue, the women's menopause reversed and they began to menstruate and develop functional ovaries that could produce both eggs and estrogen. The first women to deliver a baby with the help of in vitro fertilization by using her own ovarian tissue after being in menopause was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Dor and his team realized that several years after the operation, the women were still producing hormones. In some cases they also were able to become pregnant again even without the help of in vitro fertilization. To date, 30 babies have been born by this method and half conceived on their own without fertility treatment. No other hormones were necessary.

At this time, Professor Dor is planning to use this technique to help women who might not want to have a baby but who might want a very "natural" way to "fight" menopause. The use of the woman's ovaries for this purpose would require a laparoscopy to remove the ovarian tissue; but it could be returned to the woman with a very minor procedure that simply makes a small nick in the skin. The ovarian tissue is then placed under the skin in the fat tissue of the body.

Ideally, the woman would have the surgery to remove the tissue from her ovary when she is approximately 35 years old while her ovarian tissue is still far from menopause.

While still in development for this purpose, the procedure offers a "natural" approach to delaying menopause using your own personal hormone production and potentially avoiding the need to ever take prescription or non-prescription treatments to treat or prevent the symptoms of menopause. Stay tuned.

A video of this fascinating interview is below. Please like and share with friends and family.

For more information on perimenopause and menopause visit My Menopause Magazine in the Apple Newsstand.