Menopause may be delayed in many women by up to 20 years through surgery, says specialists.
The 30-minute operation involves keyhole surgery to remove a small piece of ovarian tissue, which is then sliced up and frozen at -150C to preserve.
When a woman enters the menopause the frozen tissue is then thawed out and transplanted back into the body. Provided the ovarian tissue survives the process, it should restore the woman’s declining sex hormones and delay the menopause.
Doctors claim the operation could benefit thousands of women who experience serious health problems that are brought on by the menopause, including heart conditions and osteoporosis.
The procedure could help improve the lives of many women by delaying the onset of more common symptoms of the menopause, which range from hot flushes and memory problems to anxiety and a reduced sex drive, reports the specialists.
The procedure will delay the menopause depending on the age when the tissue is taken and when it is put back, explains Simon Fishel, IVF doctor and president of the UK Care Fertility Group.
For example, he suggests that tissue taken from a 25-year-old might postpone the menopause for 20 years, while tissue taken from a 40-year-old could delay its onset for five years.
The procedure, which costs between £7,000 and £11,000, is being offered to women up to the age of 40 through a company named ProFam (Protecting Fertility and Menopause).
So far, nine women have had the procedure.“This has the potential to be of significant benefit to any woman who may want to delay the menopause for any reason, or those women who would have taken HRT (hormone replacement therapy), and there are lots of benefits around that,” Fishel told The Guardian.