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Q:  I would like to know if you are diagnosed with premature ovarian failure if it is possible to have children? I have been on several birth control pills to regulate my menstrual cycle. I want to have children naturally without borrowing another woman's eggs.

A: Premature ovarian failure (POF) means the ovary has stopped working. FSH, the pituitary hormone which stimulates egg production, is very high because the ovary has stopped responding. Estrogen is usually low.

There are several causes for POF. One is simply that menopause has occurred very early and the ovary is depleted of functioning egg cells. However sometimes the ovary will start to function again, although there is no way to predict this. If a woman has the form of POF in which there is some possibility of the ovary recovering, it is best to be on estrogen and progesterone. This meets the body's needs for these hormones and will not block ovulation if it is going to occur. Being on the pill will definitely prevent pregnancy, needless to say.

With POF, it is best to be evaluated by a reproductive endocrinologist who can advise if there is any possibility of pregnancy.

Hope this is helpful.

Geoffrey Redmond, MD

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