Women could delay the menopause indefinitely
A technique to remove pieces of ovary, store it for decades and then replace it with delicate surgery could effectively put a woman's menopause 'on ice', doctors said.
The only thing preventing them from having babies into their old age would be their physical ability to carry a pregnancy, they said.
The controversial notion would allow career women peace of mind with a fertility insurance policy so they can find a partner, settle down and become financially secure before starting a family.
By delaying the menopause they could also avoid the increased risk of osteoporosis and heart disease that come with the end of their fertile life but may raise the risk of breast and womb cancer.
A conference heard how 28 babies have been born worldwide to patients who either had their own ovarian tissue removed before treatment that would have left them infertile and replaced afterwards or twins where one donated tissue to the other.
Most of the children have been conceived naturally without the need for IVF for drugs.
Dr Sherman Silber, an American surgeon, has been involved in transplants for 11 women at St Luke’s Hospital in St Louis, Missouri, US, said: "A woman born today has a 50 per cent chance of living to 100. That means they are going to be spending half of their lives post-menopause.
“But you could have grafts removed as a young woman and then have the first replaced as you approach menopausal age. You could then put a slice back every decade.
“Some women might want to go through the menopause, but others might not.”
That would mean women would not have to “watch their body clocks”, he said, and would only be physically limited by their ability to carry a baby and give birth.