What is the difference between infertility and premature ovarian failure?
Premature ovarian failure is only one cause of female infertility. Infertility is generally defined as a problem that prevents an embryo from being successfully fertilized, and then implanting and growing inside the uterus. Premature ovarian failure means that a woman s ovaries stop producing hormones or mature eggs, and this occurs long before the normal age of menopause (average age at menopause is 51 years). A woman is born with all of the eggs she will ever have and cannot produce more. Over time and with each menstruation, the supply of eggs decreases until the ovarian reserve is empty and results in menopause. Premature ovarian failure may be temporary or permanent, but is often a side effect of damage to the ovaries from chemotherapy or from radiation therapy that is aimed at the pelvic area.