Could the menopause really be reversed?

It’s hard not to get excited about headlines shouting that “Scientists ‘REVERSE’ menopause: Women who’d not had a period in five years are now menstruating again after their ovaries were rejuvenated” – but does it really mean what it claims? Will the menopause be a thing of the past? Will women be able to conceive naturally later in life?

The story was originally reported in New Scientist and concerns research carried out by specialists at a Greek fertility clinic, Genesis Athens. The team found that a blood treatment,  platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, which is most often used to help wounds heal faster, could also have an impact on ovaries. They injected PRP into the ovaries of older women and found that it appeared to rejuvenate them. They say they have managed to “re-start” periods in women who are menopausal, one of whom had her last period five years before. Note the ONE!

It is potentially exciting, but this is still at an experimental stage, and more work will need to be done to prove that this is effective and that it is a safe treatment which should be available more widely.  You can read more about it here. You can find comments from Professor Geeta Nargund about her concerns about this technique here.

Cancer and your fertility

764px-Chemotherapy_vialsWomen who have had cancer as children are less likely to find it impacts on their chances of having a family than their male counterparts according to a new study from the United States.

The study looked at data relating to certain groups of young people who had survived childhood cancers and found that 70% of the women had got pregnant (compared with over 80% of siblings), yet just 50% of them men had children (compared with 80% for siblings).

The kind of chemotherapy regimes used to treat children with cancer have changed in recent years, and for men it was the cumulative impact of certain drugs which reduced the chances of having children. For women, it is thought that chemotherapy lead to an earlier menopause so the negative impact of treatment was greater in those who had left it later to try to conceive.

You can find the full study published in The Lancet Oncology here