Menopause on Pause

Posted on July 9, 2012

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Loyal reader and gifted fellow blogger Alaina Mabaso  has alerted me to a phenomenon so shocking that I had a reason to spit out my organic vegetable slime concoction that I was drinking to atone for having eaten half of a half-gallon of butter pecan ice cream last night.  According to The Week’s column What’s in The Week? (not to be confused with That Was the Week That Was or What is the What?), an international team of researchers presenting at the  European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology in Turkey has come up with a way to put menopause off indefinitely.

A quick survey of these researchers has revealed that none of them had ever experienced menstrual cramps or worn white pants on the wrong day.

“If your period marks the official start of “your usefulness as a baby vessel,” consider menopause “the long, slow death wail of your fertility,” says Cassie Murdoch at Jezebel. Boomer women were relieved to know that the long, slow death wail they had been hearing could be attributed to their fertility and not to their brain cells.

According to Dr. Sherman Silber, who has performed the new procedure on 11 women in St. Louis, this procedure gives a woman more time to focus on her career, become financially stable, and perhaps most importantly, allows her to start a family when she chooses to.   The technique involves removing a piece of a woman’s ovary, storing it away “on ice,” then transplanting it back many years later. The newly attached sample of youthful ovary tissue acts as a sort of rejuvenating catalyst that makes the entire ovary defy its real age and function like a much younger organ. Such ovary transplants have reportedly led to the births of 28 babies, although it isn’t clear whether all 28 babies came from the same mother.   Most of the children were conceived naturally, without the need for in vitro fertilization (IVF) drugs.

“You could have grafts removed as a young woman and then have them first replaced as you approach menopausal age,” says Dr. Silber. “You could then put a slice back every decade.” So far, transplants carried out eight years ago are still working. “It’s really fantastic,” he says. “We didn’t expect a little piece of ovarian tissue to last this long.”

There is little doubt that women in their 40s can greatly benefit from this procedure. At older ages, certain considerations arise.  A woman could have a successful career, retire at age 65, then start her family.  Manufacturers of baby products are already gearing up for the possibility. Cribs would be motorized so that the mattresses would automatically rise and older moms wouldn’t have to bend over. Baby homing devices could be implanted in newborns so older moms would never misplace their children. One click of a handheld device would start a loud beeping sound in the baby, leading the mom to it.

Michelle Duggar, for one, is enthusiastic. Producers of her 19 Kids and Counting show state “19 is small potatoes.  We expect Michelle to be able to continue producing children well into the next five decades.  We are already planning a 119 Kids and Counting marathon, in which some of the Duggar children will be 50 years apart, will have grandchildren older than their siblings, and everyone will be older than their own grandparents. We can even show Michelle nursing several generations of Duggar babies at one time.”

“Though it’s an ‘exciting development as a fertility treatment,’ more carefully balanced data is necessary before it can be offered as a true alternative to hormone replacement therapy,” gynecologist Tim Hillard” says. “Such a time could be ‘10 or 15 years away.’”

No problem. Now, we all know we have time to wait.

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