June 14, 2011 (New York, NY) – Infertile women all over the world are falling victim to a widespread misunderstanding of Premature Ovarian Failure (POF), a medical condition in which a woman’s ovarian function is lost prematurely ,warns a New York infertility expert. This misunderstanding, in some cases, results in women resorting to egg donation even when they still have a significant chance of pregnancy without donor eggs.
Premature Ovarian Failure (POF) is also called early menopause or Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI), a recently coined medical term. Current diagnostic criteria for POF are Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) levels above 40.0 mIU/mL before age 40 – a condition known as High FSH. True POF affects only approximately 1% of all women. However, approximately 10% of all women experience a premature decline of ovarian function, which is milder than outright POF. This milder decline in ovarian function is called Premature Ovarian Aging (POA) or Occult Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (OPOI).
This multitude of medical terminologies for similar or identical medical conditions has led to serious problems for affected patients. “Correct diagnosis is crucial in advising patients about prognosis and treatment choices, because women with POA, especially if under age 42, still have excellent pregnancy chances with correct treatments,” explains Norbert Gleicher, MD, Founder and Medical Director of the Center for Human Reproduction (CHR) in New York City. “In contrast, women with true POF have much poorer pregnancy chances with the use of their own eggs, and usually require experimental treatments.”
While women with POF and POA represent only a small minority of all women, they are a significant presence in infertility setting. “The percentages amongst patients vary between fertility centers, but have been reported to reach 50-60% in centers like CHR that specialize in women with diminished ovarian function,” notes David H. Barad, MD, MS, the center’s Clinical Director of Assisted Reproduction. “Incorrect diagnoses and treatments can, therefore, negatively affect a rather large number of infertility patients.”
“We see an increasing number of POA patients who have been given a POF diagnosis,” adds Dr. Gleicher. “They are advised to pursue egg donation very prematurely, in our opinion. A significant minority of those who consult our center after such advice end up conceiving without egg donation!”
Dr. Gleicher discusses High FSH and its implications in female fertility. This video on High FSH can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xYkGeTZQ6U
About Center for Human Reproduction
Center for Human Reproduction (http://www.centerforhumanreprod.com) is a leading IVF center in New York City with world-wide clientele, well recognized for its major clinical research program, which over the years contributed a number of essential breakthroughs to the IVF process. Dr. Gleicher and Dr. Barad are available for further comments.