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Pausing Menopause: Could New Pill Preserve a Woman's Prime?

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Such a pill or device would also have an additional effect beyond preserving fertility. If ovulation is suppressed, the woman would also be suppressing monthly menstruation. Women can suppress their periods by taking a birth control pill continuously for weeks on end, without the so-called skip week, in which they stop or take an inactive pill for seven days. This is usually only done for 'special' occasions, such as honeymoons or vacations.

Another pill now being tested by women around the country, called Seasonale, would also suppress ovulation. It would be taken for three months at a time, with one week off in between, and would cause women to have only four periods a year. If approved by the FDA, Seasonale should be on the drugstore shelves in two or three years.

Some fertility experts tell WebMD Gosden's goal is shared by many and is not likely to be easily achieved. "On a theoretic basis, this is what a lot of people have been interested in trying to do. This is something that everybody has thought about," says Rogerio Lobo, MD, chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University and Presbyterian Medical Center in New York.

Kirtly Parker Jones, MD, an associate professor of reproductive endocrinology at the University of Utah School of Medicine, calls it "an interesting idea without a shred of scientific evidence."

"The fundamental scientific questions about why [eggs die] is yet unknown -- so until we firmly understand that fundamental question, we cannot devise a medication to stop it -- and birth control pills as we currently know them certainly won't," Jones says.

She adds that women should think twice about delaying childbirth. "Polls have shown that women who had their kids before they started their careers are much happier than women who try to fit their kids in the middle or struggle to have kids near the end," she tells WebMD.

However, James Simon, MD, who is one of the physicians studying Seasonale, tells WebMD he would welcome such a development, provided the medication is safe and is able to maintain normal hormone levels.

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