Can You Become Pregnant While On Hormone Replacement Therapy?

Please tell me if it is possible to become pregnant while on hormone replacement therapy if your partner is younger and very virile? I’m hoping your answer is no.

A woman’s ability to conceive a child diminishes as she gets older. This is especially true for women who are in the perimenopausal period of their life. Many women conceive in their fifties, and the oldest confirmed spontaneous pregnancy occurred at age 57! A good rule of thumb is to continue using birth control for one year after your last period.

The amount of hormones contained in the standard regimens of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is about one-quarter the amount contained in low-dose birth control pills. Consequently, HRT will not necessarily prevent ovulation. This is of particular concern for women who are started on a very low dose of HRT as they transition into menopause. They need to continue to use birth control if they are sexually active.

If you started taking HRT after menopause (with ovarian failure confirmed by a lack of menstruation for one year or repeated blood tests documenting follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone levels in the menopausal range) then you do not need to use birth control — no matter how young and virile your partner is!

Another issue here, however, is safe sex. You must keep in mind the possibility of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Unprotected intercourse exposes you to gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes virus, human papilloma virus, and HIV, among others. This is of particular concern as we age because our vaginal tissues may become thinner, making it easier to acquire an STD.

Latex condoms used with a spermicide are effective in reducing the risk of transmission of STDs. It is currently recommended that in a new, mutually monogamous relationship, you should both be tested for HIV and have this test repeated in six months. If these tests remain negative, it is safe to discontinue the usage of condoms and spermicide. Be sure to check with your doctor if there are any special circumstances that apply to you.

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