Study Finds Menopause Symptoms Can Be Predicted
The number of eggs left in a woman’s ovaries are like the grains of sand in an hourglass, ticking away the hours on her biological clock and researchers now say they may be able to predict when that clock will wind down.
And while doctors can’t actually count the number of eggs in an ovary, they can measure ovarian volume and doctors should be able to predict when menopause will set in and how many fertile years a woman has left. However, it also stated that the predictive value of this test is not good enough to go and tell someone to change their life.
According to the article, eggs form in a female’s ovary while she is still in the womb, peaking at several million about halfway through gestation and then starting a continuous decline. At birth, there are several hundred thousand and, when menstruation begins, about 300,000. At about age 37, a woman has about 25,000 eggs left, and at menopause only about 1,000.
The time at which menopause sets in is widely believed to be based on the number of eggs reaching a critically low threshold.
While these authors have come up with a tool to potentially help women plan their lives, a second study in the same issue of Human Reproduction warned that women might not want to leave it too late. Assisted reproductive technology could not be relied upon to fully compensate for lack of natural fertility after the age of 35, the article stated.
The authors used a computer simulation model to determine that the overall success rate of assisted reproductive technology would be 30 percent for those attempting to get pregnant from age 30, 24 percent for those trying from age 35, and 17 percent from age 40.