Fertility, relationships and intimacy
If you were born without a uterus (womb) you will not be able to get pregnant or carry a baby.
Your eggs can be removed and fertilised by your partner’s sperm and then placed in another woman’s (surrogate mother’s) uterus. This is known as IVF surrogacy and the baby will genetically be yours and your partner’s.
This service is commonly available privately in recognised centres or clinics. It is possible to apply for part-funding from your GP so that you can have your fertility and IVF treatment completed on the NHS. Therefore, we advise that you and your partner discuss this further with your GP.
Your alternative fertility option is adoption and many of our couples have been successful in adopting children.
Your alternative fertility option is adoption and many of our couples have been successful in adopting children. MRKH
The menopause literally means the stopping of periods (meno=menstruation, pause=stop). It is a normal and natural event. The average age of the menopause is 51, but the menopause is actually the end of the ovaries functioning. Hence, the end of periods is only one sign that it has occurred.
The menopause occurs because the ovaries no longer produce eggs and therefore no longer produce the hormone oestrogen. Oestrogen is produced from a developing follicle in the ovary which contains the egg each month. In a woman who has a uterus, the oestrogen induces growth of the endometrium, the lining of the uterus. This growth stops after the menopause, so bleeds stop. Apart from periods stopping, the menopause is the same for women with or without a uterus.
The symptoms of the menopause are very variable - some women have none and others may find them quite severe. Hot flushes, night sweats and vaginal dryness are the most common. Night sweats may interrupt sleep and tiredness, and mood swings may also occur. Low libido (sex drive)
may also sometimes be noticed.
The ovaries do not suddenly fail – there can be a gradual lowering of the amount of oestrogen produced in the months or years leading up to the menopause. This is known as the peri-menopause. During this time, some women may be sensitive to the reduced amounts of circulating hormones and start to notice the symptoms described above.
Although a woman with MRKH will not know that they have started the menopause because their periods have stopped, the symptoms of menopause experienced by compared to a woman with a ‘normal’ uterus, ovaries and vagina are the same.
Some women may be aware of menopausal symptoms – hot flushes, night sweats etc. Women who are aware of ovulation in their bodies (i.e. because of monthly pain) will notice that this stops. Many women will not be aware of the change but this doesn’t matter at all.
There is no evidence that women with MRKH go through menopause earlier than women in general
You may not know that you are about to start the menopause. Some women may be sensitive to lower oestrogen levels and be aware of symptoms such as hot flushes during this time.
Should we do anything once the symptoms start – e.g. herbal remedies, changes to diet, visit to GP about possible Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)?
All women at all times in their life should ensure they eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, drink plenty of water and take regular exercise. After the menopause, weight-bearing exercise and adequate calcium in the diet is helpful for bone strength. Calcium supplements can be taken especially if your diet is low in dairy products.
The advice regarding HRT is the same as for all women. This is not routinely given and should only be considered for women with very severe symptoms that they are unable to cope with. If HRT is to be considered, this needs careful discussion regarding the advantages and risks associated with treatment. A woman who does not have a uterus that takes HRT only needs to take oestrogen. She does not need to take progesterone as well, as this is only necessary to protect the lining of the uterus. Some women have side effects from the progesterone part and the risks of breast cancer are reduced in oestrogen alone treatments, so this is an advantage.
If we have stopped ovulating, should we be on HRT - and is this especially important if we stop ovulating earlier than the average age for the general population?
The advice regarding HRT for menopausal women over 50 is as in the question above.
For women who become menopausal under the age of 50, HRT may be considered, but again this
requires a careful discussion for each individual woman to consider the advantages and
disadvantages in her particular case.
If we have symptoms and decide to visit our GP, what information should we tell them about
our condition to hopefully prevent him/her ceasing all input as soon as he/she finds out we
don't have periods?
Hopefully this will not occur. In terms of HRT, MRKH women are the same as women who have had
a hysterectomy (removal of the womb by surgery), so GPs should be familiar with treating women
with HRT who do not have a uterus. A simple explanation to the GP that you do not have a uterus
should be enough. If you encounter difficulties, you are always welcome to contact the national
centre for help or advice.
What tests should the GP order if he/she wants to find out whether we are close to stopping
FSH - Follicle Stimulating Hormone
LH – Luteinizing Hormone
It does not matter which day of the cycle they are taken in women with MRKH.
Some women have experienced GPs saying the only test available is the FSH test, which
needs to be done on day two of the menstrual cycle, and most of us don't know when that is,
what should we do?
A random sample on any day will be suitable. If it is difficult to interpret, a second sample can be
performed. If a woman is menopausal, the results are usually clear on any day – remember once a
woman is menopausal there is no cycle and no day two.
Some women experience vaginal dryness - how should vaginal dryness be treated, and would
the treatment be different if the woman had dilated or had surgery?
Vaginal dryness is a result of lack of oestrogen on the skin. It is the same for women with a uterus,
following dilators and following surgery. After surgery, if there is scarring, the skin may be more
sensitive to the dryness.
All the usual remedies may be applicable to a woman with MRKH, including lubricating jelly during
intercourse, local oestrogen treatment to the vagina or Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT
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