Menopause breakthrough will allow older women to have children after building a career, doctor claims

Gabriella Swerling
Menopause will no longer be a barrier for women building their careers, a scientist has claimed, following a research breakthrough which will allow for older women to have children.   - AP

Menopause will no longer be a barrier for women building their careers, a scientist has claimed, following a research breakthrough which will allow for older women to have children.

The revolutionary procedure, which is being offered by the fertility expert who pioneered IVF, works by tricking women’s biological clocks into thinking they are far younger than they are. 

The surgery freezes ovarian tissue at -150C. It is then stored in an ice bank until women reach the menopause when it is then thawed and transplanted back into the body years later when it will then kickstart women’s natural hormones and delay the menopause. 

Professor Simon Fishel Credit: ./.

This is the first surgery of its kind in the world is being offered by a Birmingham-based company called ProFaM (Protecting Fertility and Menopause), co-founded by four world-renowned experts in reproductive medicine.

Professor Simon Fishel, ProFaM’s chief executive and founder, offers the £6,000 surgery which lasts just 30 minutes privately and nine British women aged between 22 and 36 have already undergone the surgery.

One of the patients, a 34-year-old married mother-of-one who said she wanted to avoid having to take HRT in the future, told The Sunday Times: "I have to say I've never felt any pain, and it seems quite miraculous that it's something so straightforward."

The surgery was created to postpone menopause which can trigger serious health problems for thousands of women, including osteoporosis and heart problems.

However it can also extend women’s fertility and could feasibly enable a woman in her seventies to have babies - although Professor Fishel said this would not be allowed for safety and ethical reasons.

His upper age limits are 35 for freezing tissue for fertility preservation and 40 for freezing tissue for hormonal preservation.

Professor Fishel told The Telegraph: “One of the reasons for the rising infertility rates is that women are not thinking about having babies until their 30s. If this procedure allows women to nail a career and feel that burden taken off their shoulders, and if by 40 they still want a baby but are not able to have their own naturally, they can go back to their tissue which they froze at 30. 

“Using that tissue from when they were 30 means it’s not considered that they’re having a baby at an older age because the egg will be from 10 years earlier.”

He added that his youngest daughter is 22 and that the procedure “currently appeals to her”, so when she is aged between 25 and 30, he said that he will perform it on her as a “birthday present”.

“The younger it’s done, the longer you have the benefit and the more eggs are available,” he said.

Professor Fishel’s IVF work led to the birth of Natalie Brown — sister of the first test-tube baby, Louise Brown. Natalie later became the first woman conceived through IVF to naturally have her own children.