The hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness characteristic of menopause may no longer also signal the end of a woman's fertility thanks to a blood treatment used to heal wounds. Presenting their findings at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology annual meeting in Helsinki, Finland, this month, researchers in Greece said they were able to reverse menopause in roughly 30 women, including one who entered menopause at 40 but five years later menstruated again, reports New Scientist. The team has collected three eggs from her and, using her husband's sperm, fertilized two into embryos that they plan to implant into her uterus. Still, an outside researcher says, the development "opens up ethical questions over what the upper age limit of mothers should be."
The team reports that roughly 1% of women become infertile before they turn 40 thanks to certain medical conditions and cancer treatments. "It offers a window of hope that menopausal women will be able to get pregnant using their own genetic material," says gynecologist Konstantinos Sfakianoudis. The team injected a woman's ovaries with a platelet-rich plasma—or PRP, which is made with a person's own blood to trigger tissue and blood vessel growth and has been used by the likes of Tiger Woods to speed healing from soft-tssue injuries, notes Forbes—to effectively rejuvenate them and trigger menstrual cycles. They're not yet sure exactly how it works, but they've managed to fertilize eggs from nearly all of the 30 women they studied, who are between 45 and 49 and want to have children. In related news, a meta analysis published in JAMA found that some "natural" remedies, though not Chinese "medicinal" herbs, may slightly improve certain symptoms of menopause. (Heard of snowflake moms?)