Nov 102012

The fertility of women can be determined by Mother’s age at menopause, a study has concluded.

Those women whose mothers has an early menopause has fewer eggs in their ovaries than those whose mothers had later menopause.

The women have fewer eggs have fewer chances to conceive.

The study of 527 women aged between 20 and 40, was reported in the journal Human Reproduction.

Researchers used two methods to examine how many eggs the women had – known as their “ovarian reserve” – levels of anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) and antral follicle count (AFC).

“There is no actual test that can accurately determine fertility currently.”

Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have. These are released from the ovary cyclically, usually one every month after puberty, until menopause.

The AFC and AMH give readings doctors an idea of how many yet-to-be released eggs remain in the ovary.

The research also found that both AMH and AFC declined faster in women whose mothers had an early menopause (before the age of 45) in comparison to women whose mothers had a late menopause (after the age of 55).

The average AMH levels declined by 8.6%, 6.8% and 4.2% a year in the groups of women with mothers who had early, normal or late menopause, respectively.

A similar pattern was seen for AFC, with annual declines of 5.8%, 4.7% and 3.2% in the same groups, respectively.

The past research shows that there is about 20 years between a woman’s fertility starting to decline and the onset of menopause. So, a woman who experience menopause at 45 may have experienced a decline in her fertility at the age of 25.

Lead researcher Dr. Janne Bentzen said, “Our findings support the idea that the ovarian reserve is influenced by hereditary factors. However, long-term follow-up studies are required.”

“It doesn’t mean that having fewer eggs will have fewer babies.”

Dr. Valentine Akande, a consultant gynaecologist and spokesman for the British Fertility Society, said the findings were helpful, but that women should not be overly concerned if their mother did have an early menopause.

“There is a huge amount of variation among women. Some will have more eggs and some will have less.”

“Whilst it is assumed that lower egg number is associated with more challenges at getting pregnant this study did not look at that.”

“The advice remains the same – the younger you start trying for a baby the more likely you are to be successful.”

Women are most fertile between the ages of 18 and 31.