February 29, 2016

Saralyn Mark, MD Feedback from TappMD Expert
Saralyn Mark, MD
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Premature ovarian failure can be due to many factors including antibodies to the ovaries, medications and genetics. It is important to diagnose it early to ensure one's bones are protected especially if estrogen levels have dropped due to it.

Premature ovarian aging (POA) is an infertility condition that affects women of all ages. As one of the most overlooked causes of female infertility, POA is commonly misdiagnosed as “unexplained infertility.”

Women with POA have a low or poor ovarian reserve. In spite of this diagnosis, new technology and research surrounding DHEA supplementation and egg quality classification means that today – with correct management – more and more women with low ovarian reserve are conceiving children with their own eggs.

What Is Premature Ovarian Aging?

POA affects a woman’s ovarian reserve – the ability of the ovaries to produce quality eggs. As a woman ages, her ovarian function begins to decline in a predictable way. This is considered a natural process, but about 10% of women experience this decline in ovarian function early. This is known as premature ovarian aging.

It is important to note that premature ovarian aging differs from early menopause.  Menopause is considered to be the last step in the premature ovarian aging process, and once menopause is reached fertility treatment becomes very difficult.  Women who have premature ovarian aging are not in the menopausal state and can still be helped with fertility treatment.

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Saralyn Mark, MD

Saralyn Mark, MD, an endocrinologist, geriatrician and women's health specialist, was the first Senior Medical Advisor to the Office on Women's Health within the Department of Health and Human Services for 11 years and to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). As Senior Medical Advisor, Dr. Mark was responsible for the development and analysis of initiatives and programs on emerging technologies, public health preparedness, physician workforce issues, sex and gender-based medicine and women's health on Earth and in Space.