Ask the Nurse

I was recently diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure and extremely high, off the charts FSH. I am 32 years old and was in the process of planning to increase our family when I was diagnosed. My doctor put me on a Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), a combination pill of constant estrogen and progesterone to help with some symptoms I was experiencing. I know there is a very small chance of still getting pregnant while on HRT but my question is, is there one HRT better than another for improving my already slim chances of pregnancy?

The diagnosis of premature ovarian insufficiency (POI) ( the old term was premature ovarian failure) is defined as absence of menses, elevated FSH (a hormone from the pituitary gland in your brain) and low estrogen. As you correctly stated, your ovaries can continue to produce low levels of estrogen which are occasionally enough to induce growth of follicles and lead to ovulation (egg release) and then fertilization. In fact 5-10% of women with POI can have a normal pregnancy.

Symptoms of POI can include vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes), vaginal dryness and loss of bone which are treated with hormone replacement therapy (HRT) that you are currently on.

There is no data to suggest one form of HRT or another will induce ovulation and lead to higher fertility rates. The good news if you still desire fertility are that IVF (invitro fertilization) with donor eggs has a very high success rate and is commonly done.

Another great resource for women with POI is the International POI Association to link up with other women and educate yourself.

All My Best,
Speaking of Women's Health Nurse

December 1, 2011 at 5:03pm