Personal Views

Dealing with loss of fertility

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: (Published 05 July 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:66
  1. Dani Singer, psychotherapist,
  2. Myra S Hunter, clinical psychologist
  1. London

    Premature menopause—in women under 40—probably affects about 1-3% of women in Britain. A recent study associated it with higher than average levels of depression. Our qualitative study showed that for nearly all respondents (aged 23 to 40) loss of reproductive capacity was the single most distressing aspect of early menopause, regardless of parity. Often there was a sense of bereavement, as if a death had occurred. Fertility seemed linked to being or becoming whole and having value. “Robbed” of this fundamental power to create, several women feared that their new state would cause others to …

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