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POA Risk Screening With What’s My Fertility

Medically reviewed by Norbert Gleicher, MD, FACOG, FACS - Written by CHR Staff - Updated on Oct 16, 2019

Premature Ovarian Aging (POA) and Infertility

Balancing professional ambitions with personal plans has become more challenging for women, as they increasingly pursue professional careers. Focusing on career goals during the twenties and early thirties often works out, but what happens if things don’t go according to plan?

Premature ovarian aging (POA), independent of race and ethnicity, affects approximately 10% of all women, making conception increasingly more difficult as time goes by. (Recent publications, confirmed by CHR investigators, suggest that the prevalence of POA in women of Asian-Indian descent may be even higher). Currently, many women with POA are diagnosed only in their late thirties and forties, when they suddenly discover that they have difficulty conceiving.

As women in the U.S. and many other countries are having children later and later in life, this problem has greatly increased. Late diagnoses are further enhanced by the increased utilization of long-term hormonal contraception methods, which hide early signs of POA. As a consequence, by the time women receive a diagnosis of POA, they often require in vitro fertilization (IVF) to conceive and, in most severe cases, even IVF with the use of donor eggs to build families. to conceive and, in most severe cases, even IVF with use of donor eggs to build families.

Prospective risk screening for POA

Since CHR is well known for special expertise in treating women with POA, CHR physicians see such patients on a daily basis. It was this repeated experience of seeing affected women, often emotionally devastated when told of their POA diagnosis at advanced stages, that created the motivation to seek a method of early diagnosis of POA, offering women more and better choices. Since POA develops insidiously (without very obvious symptoms), CHR investigators concluded that only a prospective risk-screening algorithm would offer hope of early diagnosis.

What’s My Fertility Was Born Out of CHR

Currently, most women with POA are diagnosed with low functional ovarian reserve (LFOR) when they are already in early menopause or when they encounter fertility problems at advanced ages.

In 2014 CHR was awarded a U.S. patent (#8,951,724B2, “Detection of Infertility Risk and Premature Ovarian Aging”) for a prospective diagnostic algorithm, which allows for the identification of women (ages 18-35) who may be at risk to age their ovaries prematurely and develop LFOR at relatively young ages. Once a young woman is defined as “at risk,” she can be placed into an annual diagnostic follow-up program, which within a few short years allows for a final determination whether she really is on the way toward early LFOR or not. If she is found “at risk,” she then has options:

  1. She can choose to have children at a young age, in which case she will likely not even need any medical help,
  2. Or, if the first option is not possible, she can enter CHR’s fertility preservation program and freeze eggs at a young age, when eggs offer the best pregnancy chances.

CHR licensed this patent to a newly founded medical corporation, called Generation Medical Associates, PLLC, through which What’s My Fertility offers this program online and free of charge (excluding lab fees).

Norbert Gleicher, MD, FACOG, FACS

Norbert Gleicher, MD, FACOG, FACS

Norbert Gleicher, MD, leads CHR’s clinical and research efforts as Medical Director and Chief Scientist. A world-renowned specialist in reproductive endocrinology, Dr. Gleicher has published hundreds of peer-reviewed papers and lectured globally while keeping an active clinical career focused on ovarian aging, immunological issues and other difficult cases of infertility.