With many women putting of motherhood while they establish careers and fulfill other goals, the question of exactly when a woman’s biological clock will stop ticking is an important one that just might be answered by the results of a study out of Tehran.
The study examined blood samples from 266 women aged 20 to 49 who were taking part in the ongoing Tehran Lipid and Glucose Study. Researchers found that measuring the levels of anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) and plugging that result into a statistical model they developed allowed them to accurately predict a woman’s age at menopause.
Results of the test were very accurate when compared to the ages which women in the study actually reached menopause. In fact, according to researcher Ramezani Tehrani, “The average difference between the predicted age at menopause using our model and the women’s actual age was only a third of a year and the maximum margin of error for our model was only three to four years,” said Ramezani Tehrani.
AMH has been proposed as a measure of ovarian function, because it is the hormone which controls the development of follicles that produce the eggs. Because it is produced only by small follicles in the ovary, AMH blood levels are thought to reflect the size of a woman’s remaining egg supply, otherwise known as the ovarian reserve. As women age, the size of their pool of remaining microscopic follicles decreases, and AMH levels also drop.
If further study proves that these results are accurate, this test could provide very useful information for women who want to plan when they will start their family. By determining which women will enter menopause early, it will give these women the option to try to have children sooner instead of later.
Tehrani, FR et al. Whether age at menopause is predictable using Anti -Mullerian serum concentration? ESHRE ROME 2010.
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