Premature ovarian insufficiency (POI), or a premature menopause occurs when a woman’s periods stop well before the natural age of menopause. There is often some warning, just as there is at the time of the natural menopause (around the age of 50 for most women) with periods becoming irregular and more widely spaced. Sometimes, however, periods cease suddenly. The ovaries stop producing the hormone oestrogen and so symptoms of oestrogen deficiency can occur, including hot flushes, mood changes and vaginal dryness. The ovaries also stop producing eggs and so conception is extremely unlikely.

IVF treatment with donor eggs may be an option if you have POI and want to conceive. The donor eggs can be fertilised with sperm from the male partner, or with donated sperm by IVF or ICSI treatment and the developing embryos transferred to your uterus.