Doctors are a step closer to accurately predicting the age at which women will go through the menopause with a simple blood test, meaning we could be able to plan the perfect time to become mums.
How does the study calculate my menopause age?
A new study has measured levels of a hormone called AMH which controls the development of follicles in the ovaries from which eggs develop. This is the first time researchers have worked out a formula for linking AMH levels in younger women with their future age of menopause.
Has it been tested and is it accurate?
In the study, 266 women, aged between 20 and 49, were monitored through blood samples and physical examinations at three-year intervals over a 12-year period. They also gave information about their medical history and lifestyle. The researchers then worked out a mathematical model for estimating the age at menopause from AMH levels in the blood.
For the 63 women who reached menopause during the study period, their predicted age was accurate to within four months.
If the method continues to be reliable, it could quickly lead to a home
testing kit. It could mean that if a woman finds the menopause is fast approaching,
she can decide to try for a family - or freeze some eggs for use at a
Does a good result mean I'm more likely to be able to conceive?
Stuart Lavery, who's a consultant gynaecologist and director of IVF at London's Hammersmith Hospital, says:
'Contraception has given women control over when not to have kids. This new technology is giving control in a more positive aspect, in terms of keeping options open to have children.'
He warns that a good test result doesn't necessarily mean women will conceive, as there can be other problems including with their partner's fertility or their womb.
In the UK, the average age for the menopause is 52 - although 1 per cent of women go through it before they hit 40.
Tell us what you think on Facebook - here's what you've said so far:
-'I guess it is helpful, but don't us women
worry enough about getting older and 'running out of time' (or is that
just me?) Still it's always nice to have reassurance or confirmation.' Julie-Liz Samways
-'It is a good thing if used to help women get pregnant, but it could also
be a bad thing as women will take the test and worry about the menopause,
because they are going to know when it is going to start.' Lisa Joanne Cooke
- 'I think it's good but you just need to know when your mum had the menopause
and I think it's 10 years before that you need to start worrying'. Kayleigh Eloise Palmer
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