Thirty-something women of the world, fear not! Science is working to bring a solution to the “delaying motherhood” dilemma.
It’s true that a woman’s eggs are a limited, non-renewable, commodity. But it’s not easy to predict when they’ll run out. Menopause, when the female reproductive system shuts down for good, usually occurs sometime between age 45 and 55. This ten year window leaves a big question mark for women trying to plan for (or against) having children.
Now, a new hormone test could narrow this window by predicting the onset of menopause to within just a few years. The new test measures levels of three hormones in the blood—anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and inhibin B—that change noticeably as menopause approaches. For example, a 14 year study of 629 women found that levels of AMH practically disappear 5 years before a woman’s last period. With the new test, women can map out their “5 year egg plans” and leave a little less to chance. Though mapping out what happens to the kids once they’re born may not be quite so easy.
Image: flickr / woodleywonderworks