Only females are affected by Turner syndrome, which is a chromosomal condition. Turner syndrome is present when one of the X chromosomes is partially or completely missing. This condition can cause multiple medical and developmental problems for girls and women.
Turner syndrome is sometimes diagnosed prenatally but also during infancy or early childhood. When the signs and symptoms are mild, it may not be diagnosed until a girl is in her teens or young adult years. Because of the various medical concerns, girls and women with this syndrome require ongoing medical care from various specialists. When they receive the necessary care, these females are able to lead healthy, independent lives.
Women with Turner syndrome are usually infertile. Rarely one will become pregnant without assistance. Others require fertility treatment in order to become pregnant.
The complications with this condition are many. Therefore, it is important that a woman seeking to become pregnant be evaluated by a cardiologist before proceeding. Women with Turner syndrome who become pregnant have increased risks of serious complications, including high blood pressure and aortic dissection.
Symptoms of Turner Syndrome in Teens and Adulthood
In general, almost all females with Turner syndrome are short in stature and have ovarian insufficiency due to ovarian failure. Ovarian failure may have occurred during development or gradually during her growth. Symptoms of the condition include:
- Adult height is considerably less than expected for a female member of the family
- Early end to menstrual cycles not due to pregnancy
- Failure to begin sexual changes expected during puberty
- Inability to conceive a child without fertility treatment for most females with Turner syndrome
- No growth spurts at expected time in childhood
- Sexual development that “stalls” during teenage years
- Slowed growth
The signs and symptoms of Turner syndrome can be similar to other disorders, making it difficult to distinguish at times. Prompt, accurate diagnosis is important in order to get the appropriate care.
Pregnancy and Turner Syndrome
Most women with Turner syndrome will not be able to get pregnant naturally. This is due to ovarian failure early in life that most of these females experience. It is uncommon, but possible for a spontaneous pregnancy to occur. A woman with Turner syndrome may possibly become pregnant if donor eggs are used, but the risks to the mother’s health are great. This is a decision that needs to be carefully considered. Many women with Turner syndrome are advised to consider using a gestational carrier as an alternative to becoming pregnant.
Neway Fertility offers options, including resources and support for gestational surrogacy. If you have questions or would like more information, schedule a consultation with one of our fertility specialists.