Is pregnancy possible during menopause?

Published: 29 July 2022|Last updated: 29 July 2022|About Assisted Reproduction.|

Menopause is defined as the absence of menstruation for a period longer than 12 months. It occurs at the moment when the ovarian reserve is depleted and when the ovaries, the oldest ageing organ in a woman’s body, stop functioning.

Therefore, natural pregnancy during this period cannot occur, although pregnancy is possible during menopause through assisted reproductive techniques. That is, if a woman has vitrified her eggs and follows an in vitro fertilisation treatment by ovodonation (using donor eggs) or an embryo donation process (using a donated embryo), she can carry a pregnancy to term under hormonal treatment that prepares her uterus for pregnancy.

Pregnancy success rates during menopause using assisted reproductive techniques are the same as those for a woman who is still menstruating.

Can you get pregnant in menopause?

Women are born with a certain number of eggs; about one million, which drops to about half in adolescence, and only 400-500 oocytes reach ovulation with each menstrual cycle. At the age of 35, a woman’s fertility decreases significantly, and at the age of 40 it becomes even more accentuated.

From that age, and before reaching menopause, there is a period known as perimenopause, during which periods are very irregular (they may disappear for months or even occur very often). During this period, pregnancy can occur, although the chances are low and the risk of miscarriage is very high, because the eggs that remain in the ovaries can accumulate many alterations.

At around 47-48 years of age, although the age varies with each woman, menopause begins and it is not possible to become pregnant naturally, although pregnancy is possible during menopause through assisted reproduction techniques.

How do you differentiate between menopause and pregnancy?

A common symptom of menopause and pregnancy is amenorrhoea, that is, the absence of menstruation. However, apart from this, each process has a totally different symptomatology.

Menopause, for example, involves hot flushes caused by hormonal variations that do not usually occur in pregnant women. In addition, it often causes dryness of the vaginal mucosa and discomfort during sexual intercourse due to lack of lubrication and tissue atrophy. On the other hand, during pregnancy there is a greater amount of flow due to increased vascularisation, as well as breast swelling.

Symptoms of menopause

Symptoms of menopause include the following:

  • Lack of menstruation.
  • Dryness of the skin and mucous membranes (including the vagina).
  • Hot flashes and flushes.
  • Chills.
  • Tingling and cramps.
  • Joint pain.
  • Night sweats.
  • Trouble falling asleep.
  • Changes in mood.
  • Weak hair and nails.
  • Weight gain.

As we will see below, some of the initial symptoms in pregnancy and menopause seem common. However, the other symptoms differ so much that it will not be difficult to confirm whether you have one or the other. In any case, Eugin recommends that, in case of any doubt, you go to your family doctor or specialist so that you can confirm it without delay.

Pregnancy symptoms

On the other hand, symptoms of pregnancy include:

  • Lack of menstruation.
  • Tender and swollen breasts.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Increased urge to urinate.
  • Digestive symptoms such as constipation.
  • Cramps and pinching in the pelvic area.
  • Tiredness, fatigue and sleepiness.
  • Changes in mood.
  • Stuffy nose.
  • Changes in smell and appetite.
  • Nosebleeds and gum bleeding.
  • Sensitivity to tastes and smells.
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