The menopause can be one of the most turbulent times in women's lives, but now, a new medical breakthrough has suggested that it can be delayed by decades.
The Times reports that a revolutionary new procedure has already worked to trick the biological clocks of women into thinking that they are decades younger than they actually are.
Nine women between 22 and 36 have already had the procedure – which takes just 30 minutes – with one woman having described it as ‘life-changing’.
It’s being offered to women by a company called ProFaM in Birmingham, founded by four experts in reproductive health. The operation sets patients back between £3,000 and £7,000.
So just how does it work?
According to The Times, doctors will take a piece of the woman’s ovary and freeze it at -150C, before thawing it and re-inserting it around the time that they would naturally reach the menopause, to restart their hormones and delay the process. On average, women reach the menopause at around the age of 51.
Dixie-Louise Dexter, one woman who has had the procedure aged 34, confessed that it has been ‘life-changing’, as it has helped her to avoid premature menopause after having a hysterectomy.
But why else might women want the procedure? The Sunday Times explain that delaying menopause could also delay many of the debilitating symptoms that come with it, including hot flushes, mood swings, low sex drive and vaginal dryness, as well as the emotional repercussions such as anxiety and depression.
It’s also worth noting that the menopause can bring health problems such as osteoporosis and heart problems, another potential benefit of the delaying surgery.
Professor Simon Fishel, one of the doctors who created the surgery, said, “Women are living longer than at any time in human history.
“It’s quite likely that many women will be in the menopause for longer than their fertile period. We are empowering women to take control of their own health by naturally delaying their menopause.”
However, the surgery has sparked questions over the idea that it may enable women to have children later and later in life – and the safety of that concept.