UK Jewish scientist’s groundbreaking surgery could delay menopause by 20 years

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UK Jewish scientist’s groundbreaking surgery could delay menopause by 20 years

Ground-breaking surgery initiated by former King David High School head boy, Professor Simon Fishel, could give hope to millions of women

Prof Simon Fishel 

Prof Simon Fishel (Wikipedia/WendelNo17)

A world-renowned Jewish scientist from Liverpool has launched a 30-minute medical procedure that can delay the onset of menopause in women for up to 20 years.

The surgery is ground-breaking and cause for hope for millions of women whose menopause symptoms range from low mood, anxiety and difficulty sleeping, to hot flushes, night sweats and a reduced sex drive.

Professor Simon Fishel, who was head boy at King David High School in Liverpool before moving to Nottingham, is a fertility expert best-known as one of the pioneers of IVF, who has been at the top of his field for almost 40 years.

This week he explained how a new 30-minute operation for women aged up to 40, performed by keyhole surgery and costing up to £11,000, can delay menopause symptoms for up to 20 years, depending on their age at the time of surgery.

Fishel founded the CARE Fertility group of IVF clinics but introduced the new menopause delay surgery through his Birmingham-based company ProFam, set up to help women store ovarian tissue “to delay the menopause and preserve their fertility at the same time”.

He said: “For the first time in human history, women will be living as long in the menopausal state as the pre-menopausal state, if not longer, and millions suffer from a whole range of medical problems related to being in the menopause”.

Health policy planners will take notice, knowing that the NHS spends millions of pounds every year on medical problems related to the menopause, such as osteoporosis and some heart conditions.

The surgery involves taking a small piece of ovarian tissue before slicing it up and cryo-storing it. When the woman enters the menopause, the frozen tissue is thawed out and grafted back into the body.

If it survives the process, the ovarian tissue restores falling hormone levels, restoring a woman’s declining sex hormones and halting the menopause. Fishel said: “There was no natural way of stopping the menopause until now.”

However Richard Anderson of the Centre for Reproductive Health at Edinburgh University said he had been performing ovarian tissue freezing for young girls and women for 25 years.

He said it was “old news” that the transplants could restore hormone levels, adding: “What is less clear is whether this is a safe and effective way of doing so.”

Fishel supports Bonei Olam, which funds fertility treatment for Jewish couples struggling to conceive, and said support from then Chief Rabbi Immanuel Jakobowits in the 1980s “helped me enormously… despite the huge objections at the time”.

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