A Birmingham-based company called ProFaM (Protecting Fertility and Menopause) is now offering a medical procedure that aims to allow women to delay menopause for up to 20 years. The company, co-founded by four world-renowned experts in reproductive medicine, will extract and freeze the reproductive tissue of women when they are younger to be re-implanted when they are older to restore hormonal levels. The procedure, which costs between £7,000 and £11,000, is being offered to women up to the age of 40.
ProFam’s chief medical officer, Yousri Afifi, said, “This is the first project in the world to provide healthy women ovarian tissue cryopreservation purely to delay the menopause.” How much the new procedure will delay the menopause depends on the age when the tissue is taken and when it is put back. Nine British women aged between 22 and 36 have already had the procedure to remove and freeze their ovarian tissue with a view to delaying menopause when they are older.
For the procedure, doctors use keyhole surgery, which lasts just 30 minutes, to remove a small piece of the patient’s ovarian tissue. That tissue is then sliced up and frozen at -150C to preserve it. The tissue is stored in an ice bank until women reach menopause, when it is then thawed and transplanted back into the body. Doctors will choose a site with a good blood supply, such as the armpit, for the re-implantation.
The revolutionary procedure tricks the woman’s biological clock into thinking they are far younger than they are. Doctors believe the procedure could improve the lives of millions of women by delaying the onset of common symptoms of menopause, including low mood, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, hot flashes, night sweats, and a reduced sex drive. The procedure could also save the healthcare system substantial amounts of money by reducing treatment costs for more serious related problems, like heart conditions and osteoporosis.