Scientists have developed a test to predict when a woman will go through menopause, enabling older women to plan for motherhood.
The breakthrough by American scientists will help women prepare mentally for losing their fertility and allow those in their late 30s and 40s who are considering trying for a baby to pinpoint just how long they have left to conceive, The Observer newspaper reported on Sunday.
“This test seems to be reasonably predictive of menopause. Lots of people want to know when it's going to happen so that they can plan their life and work and their children, if possible, and this test would give them an idea of that,” said Bill Ledger, a professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Sheffield.
“It would give them an idea of where their body is in relation to the menopause, how soon it's coming,” he added.
The test, developed by international researchers led by MaryFran Sowers of the University of Michigan, measures three hormones in the blood to calculate how many eggs are left in a woman's ovaries.
The researchers found that changes in the levels of anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH), the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and inhibin B concentrations foretold when they would enter menopause.
AMH fell to a very low or non-measurable level five years before a woman has her final period, the newspaper said, quoting the study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.