Can woman have pregnancy after menopause?

Can woman have pregnancy after menopause?
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Can woman have pregnancy after menopause?

Highlights

Social media frequently reports celebrity like Naomi Campbell, who recently became a mother at the age of 50, or a 74 year old, Erramatti Mangayamma from Andhra Pradesh, who holds the record for being the oldest woman to give birth through IVF

Social media frequently reports celebrity like Naomi Campbell, who recently became a mother at the age of 50, or a 74 year old, Erramatti Mangayamma from Andhra Pradesh, who holds the record for being the oldest woman to give birth through IVF.

Is it possible for a woman to become pregnant after menopause?

Vaishali Chaudhary, Chief IVF Consultant, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals in Pune, says, "Pregnancy happens as a result of fertilisation of the egg by the sperm. So to achieve a pregnancy, availability of the egg and the sperm is the most basic requirement. Menopause which means stopping of the periods is preceded by the depletion of the eggs. Hence a natural pregnancy is not possible after menopause."

But a pregnancy can be possible after menopause if a woman opts to freeze her eggs while she was younger and utilise them for a pregnancy in her later years or if she uses donor eggs or a recently devised procedure of Ovarian Rejuvenation which is still under experimentation.

Freezing of eggs has been a very popular and successful procedure and companies like Facebook and Google sponsor their women employees to undergo freezing of eggs by IVF, so that they can focus on their careers and not worry about keeping pace with the ticking of their biological clocks. This procedure gives them the freedom to plan their pregnancy when it is the right time for them to start a family.

There may be many instances when women may want to freeze their eggs like, being posted abroad on duty for a long time, women in the fashion world or entertainment industry, or women who may have not found their Mr. Right; women undergoing cancer therapy and want to protect their eggs from the ill effects of chemotherapy and want to be able to consider pregnancy later.

Chaudhary adds, "IVF with Donor eggs is a very successful procedure for those women who have not been able to freeze their eggs earlier while they were young or women who have planned their pregnancy after menopause or in women who unfortunately suffer from premature ovarian failure, where the ovaries stop producing eggs at an early age."

"Most IVF centres help women find a matching healthy donor and a pregnancy is possible, by stimulating the donor women with gonadotrophin injections and harvesting her eggs by a simple procedure of Ovum pickup and then the embryos are made in the IVF Lab by fertilisation with the recipient's husbands' sperms," she says.

"Before the fertilised embryo can be used, doctors will need to make sure the woman's womb is ready to receive and nurture it. She will be given a short course of oestrogen therapy to thicken the lining of her womb and prepare the environment for the embryo. These embryos can be later transferred to the postmenopausal recipient and a successful pregnancy can occur."

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