MENOPAUSE AT 25? HOW??
A single woman who was so desperate to be a mother she found a sperm donor on Facebook was devastated to discover she had entered the menopause in her twenties.
Crystal Ashwood, now 32, of Wells, Somerset, invited the stranger to her home three times in as many months, over the course of last summer.
On each occasion, the donor deposited his sperm into a pot in her bathroom. She then used a needle-less syringe to insert a sample into her vagina, in hope of getting pregnant. Each time, she waited a month before taking a pregnancy test.
With the pregnancy test coming back as negative every time, she eventually went to her doctor, who last month told her she was suffering from premature ovarian failure.
Ms Ashwood is thought to have started the menopause at 25, when she had extremely sporadic, heavy periods, which she dismissed as stress.
The Lidl shop assistant is now fundraising £8,000 for an embryo donation because NHS only helps if it is a couple involved not a single
Women go through the menopause at double the age I had mine, which is just so unfair,’ Ms Ashwood said.
‘All my life I have dreamed of being a mum. I can wait for a boyfriend, but I can’t wait for a baby.’
The NHS states that menopause most often occurs in women between the age of 45 and 55.
But one per cent of women will experience the end of their fertility before they turn 40, which can be triggered by premature ovarian failure.
Ms Ashwood’s menstrual cycle started fluctuating at 25, leaving her without a period for up to six months at a time.
However, she put this down erroneously to her just being stressed. Her Doctor even suggested it was her weight and that she needs to lose weight.
By then, having saved enough to buy a house, her yearning for motherhood intensified.
‘I was 31 and felt like I was getting on a bit,’ Ms Ashwood said.
‘All my friends had kids, so I wanted to be in that place, too. I didn’t have a fella, but knew I could find one at any point, whereas I couldn’t have kids at any point.’
Thinking her period woes were behind her, Ms Ashwood started looking for a sperm donor on Facebook last June.
‘I found a bloke on a Facebook donor page, who lived in the south-west area,’ she said.
‘We talked a bit, met for coffee and he agreed to help me. All he wanted was a cup of tea when he arrived at my house before we tried the artificial insemination at home.’
The donor deposited his sperm into a pot in Ms Ashwood’s bathroom three times over as many months. She then used a needle-less syringe to insert the sperm into her vagina.
But each time Ms Ashwood took a pregnancy test, it came back as negative.
‘I really hoped it would work, and my periods had stopped again, so I was even more hopeful that it might be my time to be a mum,’ she said.
‘But every time I was disappointed.’
At a loss, Ms Ashwood visited a private fertility clinic last month where she underwent a Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH) test, along with a blood sample being taken.
AMH is a hormone that is produced by the cells within a woman’s ovaries and give an indication of her egg reserve, and subsequent fertility.
My dream came crashing down,’ Ms Ashwood said.
‘I was devastated that I would never be able to have my own biological child.
‘All I ever wanted was to buy a house, marry and have a family.
‘Every woman thinks she can just have children, no problem, but I’d had the menopause at half the age most women go through it, it just didn’t feel fair.’
After allowing herself a few weeks’ thinking time, Ms Ashwood decided she was happy to carry a child who was not hers biologically.
Due to her no longer releasing eggs, Ms Ashwood will require both an egg and a sperm donor.
It is unclear where the sperm will come from but it is expected to be an official donor.
‘I started doing my research and discovered, in general, NHS funding is only available to couples and not to single women, so that ruled me out,’ she said.
‘So, feeling brave, I decided to go at it alone.
‘But, when I realised that it would cost £8,000 in the UK or £3,000 in Spain, I started a Gofundme page to ask for some help.’
‘My world would be complete with a child in it, it’s all I have ever wanted, so I do hope people will support me.’