Mum's age at menopause could offer clue to woman's fertility
A woman's potential fertility can be predicted from the age her mother went through the menopause, a study has revealed.
Ovarian reserve - the number of eggs a woman has left in her ovaries - was found to decline faster in women whose mothers had an early menopause, News.com.au reported.
The findings suggest a woman's fertility is, to some extent, inherited from her mother.
Earlier statistical studies had already indicated the trend but the new research confirmed it by looking at two physical markers of ovarian reserve.
Scientists measured anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) levels and antral follicle count (AFC) in daughters and compared both with mother's age at menopause.
Both markers reduced at a faster rate in daughters of mothers who had the menopause early.
Study leader Dr Janne Bentzen, from Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark, said, "This is the first study to suggest that the age-related decline of AMH and AFC may differ between those whose mothers entered menopause before the age of 45 years and those whose mothers entered menopause after the age of 55 years."
"Our findings support the idea that the ovarian reserve is influenced by hereditary factors. However, long-term follow-up studies are required.
"Conclusive evidence can only be obtained when we have longitudinal studies that follow women who have AMH measurements over time until menopause. Therefore, interpretations of our data are limited and the findings we have described may not occur in any given individual," Bentzen said.
The findings are published in the latest online edition of the journal, Human Reproduction.