Dr Hajra Khattak – preventing early menopause

This study uses ovarian tissue transplants in treating early menopause

Woman with brown hair looking at camera in black top

Premature ovarian insufficiency (early menopause) has been associated with several risk factors for the development of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, cognitive impairment and infertility. It is often iatrogenic (caused by medical treatment) and can potentially be prevented. Many women undergo surgery for removal of their ovaries or a significant part of the ovaries for conditions such as endometriosis and ovarian cysts. Operating on ovaries may result in total or significant loss of ovarian function and cause premature menopause with a significant compromise on the quality of life of these women.

Women with premature ovarian insufficiency currently are recommended to take Hormonal Replacement Therapy (HRT) for long term and usually for more than 10 years. HRT does not suit all women, and many suffer with significant side effects. For some women, such as those with contraindications, HRT is not even an option. However, HRT is currently the most effective option to relieve symptoms of POI and there are no other effective alternatives.

Through this project, we aim to preserve the natural ovarian function by exploring the effectiveness of fresh ovarian tissue autographs. During this procedure the ovarian tissue is removed at the time of removal of ovaries and transplanted into the lining of pelvic side wall. If this procedure is proven to be effective, it will help prevent the debilitating effects of premature menopause as women will maintain their normal female hormone production. Our hope is that this will delay or avoid altogether, the need for hormonal replacement therapy.