It may become possible in the near future
Women who suffer from premature menopause, also known as primary ovarian insufficiency (POI) or primary ovarian failure (POF) have either run out of eggs or no eggs capable of being stimulated.
This can occur for a number of reasons but early menopause causes 2 major problems for women who suffer from it. One is infertility, and this type of infertility can usually only be successfully treated with donor egg IVF. The other problem is hormonal. With the depletion of ovarian follicles, levels of reproductive hormones, especially estrogen, drop dramatically. The low levels of estrogen can cause a number of problems including vaginal dryness, difficulty with intercourse, hot flushes, bone loss and loss of sleep to name a few.
So, if there was a safe way to restore eggs to an ovary that has shut down prematurely, it might be a great advance in women's health care.
With that in mind, the ROSE trial was undertaken. The researchers injected cells from the bone marrow, which is rich in stem cells into the ovaries in an attempt to help regenerate new eggs.
Obtaining cells from the bone marrow is a fairly routine medical procedure and injecting substances into the ovarian is also not a new procedure. What is new about this is combining the two and using stem cell to restore ovarian function.
The few patients in the trial had an increase in the size of their ovaries and higher estrogen levels even a year out of from the procedure.
It will still take time and more studies to determine how safe and effective stem cells from the bone marrow are at restoring functioning ovaries and fertility to women with premature menopause / POI, but the results so far are encouraging.