Many women desire to have children, but the probability of getting pregnant decreases as they approach menopause. This is because the quality of eggs declines with age. However, thanks to a new technique called ovarian rejuvenation, older women have new hope of obtaining successful pregnancies.
What is Ovarian Rejuvenation?
Ovarian rejuvenation therapy is an experimental procedure that aims to stimulate egg production in women who have unsuccessfully tried to conceive. The main reasons for failing to obtain pregnancy include advanced age, early menopause (premature ovarian failure), and undesirable response to hormonal stimulation.
The motivation behind Ovarian Rejuvenation Therapy
In the past, scientists believed that females carry a finite number of eggs. However, research shows that ovaries can produce more eggs when stimulated.
Ovarian rejuvenation therapy aims to stimulate egg production by injecting growth factors into the ovaries. The treatment occurs in cycles, and doctors hope it can improve the quality and quantity of eggs and embryos, enabling women who had lost hope of conceiving to get pregnant.
What Does the Procedure Entail?
The first step involves the collection of plasma-rich platelets (PRP). This is a natural product with a high concentration of platelets and growth factors.
The collection starts when a phlebotomist draws a blood sample from your forearm. They then place the sample in a centrifuge for ten minutes to separate red blood cells from the PRP. Later, they transfer the PRP into a syringe.
Once obtained, the doctor can administer PRP through an ovary injection or uterine infusion.
The doctor injects local anaesthesia to reduce pain. They then use a transvaginal approach to inject the PRP into the ovaries, a process that lasts 20 minutes. After injection, you get one hour for recovery and go home.
Uterine infusion is a less painful and faster alternative to ovary injection. The patient assumes the dorsal-lithotomy position as the doctor infuses the PRP into the uterine cavity. It lasts 15 minutes and doesn’t need post-recovery.
What’s the Likelihood of Success?
Since it’s a relatively new procedure, there isn’t much literature on the effectiveness of ovarian rejuvenation therapy. However, some preliminary reports show that women who used the treatment had a higher conception rate with IVF than those who hadn’t tried it. Samples were obtained from women over 40 with poor ovarian reserves.
Going by other PRP-based therapies, younger patients have a higher chance of success than older ones. Unfortunately, this means women in menopause aren’t likely to benefit from this treatment.
Is it Safe?
Ovarian injections and uterine infusions are safe, as no patient has incurred harm when undergoing the procedures. However, this is inconclusive because only a few people have received the treatment. Potential short and long-term risks are still unknown, and the therapy is still experimental.
Usually, doctors advise patients to abstain from inserting objects into the vagina for 24 hours after the procedure. If you experience any adverse effects, speak to your doctor.
The inability to conceive doesn’t always mean you’re sterile. Sometimes, you might have difficulties getting pregnant because of early menopause, advanced age, and undesirable response to hormonal stimulation.
If your doctor runs tests and establishes you can’t get pregnant because of poor egg quality or quantity, there’s hope. Oral rejuvenation therapy will stimulate your ovaries to produce eggs, allowing you to conceive naturally or using IVF.