OBJECTIVE: To articulate the need for a new approach to primary ovarian insufficiency. The condition, also known as premature menopause or premature ovarian failure, is defined by the presence of menopausal-level serum gonadotropins in association with irregular menses in adolescent girls or women younger than 40 years. It can be iatrogenic as related to cancer therapy or may arise spontaneously, either alone or as part of a host of ultrarare syndromes. In a large percentage of spontaneous cases no pathogenic mechanism can be identified.
DESIGN: Literature review and consensus building at a multidisciplinary scientific workshop.
CONCLUSION(S): There are major gaps in knowledge regarding the etiologic mechanisms, psychosocial effects, natural history, and medical and psychosocial management of primary ovarian insufficiency. An international research consortium and disease registry formed under the guidance of an umbrella organization would provide a pathway to comprehensively increase basic and clinical knowledge about the condition. Such a consortium and patient registry also would provide clinical samples and clinical data with a goal toward defining the specific pathogenic mechanisms. An international collaborative approach that combines the structure of a patient registry with the principles of integrative care and community-based participatory research is needed to advance the field of primary ovarian insufficiency.
Amber R. Cooper, MD, Valerie L. Baker, MD, Evelina W. Sterling, PhD, Mary E. Ryan, MLS, Teresa K. Woodruff, PhD, and Lawrence M. Nelson, MD. Fertility and Sterility, 2010.