VERY LATE MOTHERHOOD

By

c.2013 New York Times News Service

Q: Could a postmenopausal woman bear her own child from stored eggs and semen?

A: Yes, a menopausal women could potentially conceive and deliver a child using her own eggs if they were retrieved and frozen while they were still of good quality, said Dr. Laurence C. Udoff, medical director of the Genetics and IVF Institute in Fairfax, Va.

Udoff said he was not aware of any woman who had conceived after natural menopause with her own previously removed and frozen eggs. That is because the process of freezing eggs and then successfully warming them and using them to achieve pregnancy has not been in use long enough for most such candidates to have had eggs retrieved in time, usually by the age of 35.

Women who have had menopause induced by surgical removal of their ovaries or by chemotherapy have certainly been able to conceive with previously retrieved eggs, Udoff said.

“Fortunately, the uterus does not age in the same way that eggs do,” he said.

This makes the goal of carrying a child after menopause easier to achieve, with the use of appropriate replacement hormones.

Use of a donor egg is currently the most common way that menopausal women are able to conceive, Udoff said, adding that in coming decades more women may freeze their eggs when they are about 35 for later use — although he emphasized that pregnancy has higher risks after menopause.

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