Surgical Procedure Aims to Delay Menopause

From the WebMD Archives

Aug. 6, 2019 -- Ten British women have undergone a first-of-a-kind surgery that could delay menopause by up to 20 years.

The procedure involves removing a portion of a woman's ovaries and then cryogenically freezing it. When the woman gets closer to the age of menopause, the tissue is thawed and re-implanted to restore her younger, natural hormones, CBS News reported.

The women, ages 22-36, had the procedure performed by doctors at ProFam in Birmingham, England.

While a remarkable development, it also raises a number of questions, according to CBS News medical contributor Dr. David Agus.

"A hundred years ago, the average life expectancy was in the 50s," he told CBS This Morning. "So now really we're living, or women are living, with four or five decades of having menopause. So menopause, osteoporosis, increased heart disease, obviously hot flashes, potentially memory problems, and others, you can delay that with this procedure."

However, the effects the procedure will have on women won't be known for several decades.

"For all we know it could change cancer risk," Agus said. "It could change cognitive function later as you get older. We just don't know the answer."

He noted that similar procedures have been available for decades for women with cancer, but not healthy women, CBS News reported.