Dr. Heard has a special interest in the evaluation and treatment of patients diagnosed with premature ovarian failure. This condition is diagnosis in women under age 40 who stop menstruating and experience the symptoms of menopause. For reasons largely unknown, the ovaries stop functioning normally. This leads to a decline in the normal production of eggs and estrogen levels, leading to infertility and the onset of menopausal symptoms. Many patients develop autoimmune problems such as thyroid dysfunction, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis. Many patients are diagnosed after stopping birth control pills or being evaluated for infertility. Patients are devastated because POF symptoms develop without warning and patients are informed suddenly that they can no longer get pregnant with their own eggs. These patients are then faced with new problems which include the need for hormone replacement, new medical problems related to autoimmune disease, and fertility options that are costly and not always wanted by most patients.
The Heard Institute offers specialized services for the patient with premature ovarian failure. These patients require a comprehensive evaluation to ensure nothing is overlooked. Patients spend up to one hour during their initial consultation. Many patients have visited Houston from all over the United States to be evaluated and discuss the latest treatment options including hormone replacement therapy and available fertility options. POF patients and their partners can be scheduled for an infertility evaluation during a one day visit to the Heard Institute office. Treatment options can then be discussed shortly thereafter to allow fertility treatments to begin as soon as possible.