Test to tell how fast biological clock is ticking
Published 08/08/2011 | 10:35
A simple hormone test could measure how fast a woman’s biological clock is ticking and predict when she will no longer be able to have children.
For the first time, researchers from St Andrews University have been able to chart the levels of a vital fertility hormone in women of different ages.
The move could revolutionise family planning by predicting when a woman is likely to start the menopause and may ultimately show how long she can delay having children.
It could also save couples expensive – but ultimately futile – in vitro fertilisation treatments by predicting their chances of successful conception.
Research jointly carried out with scientists from Glasgow and Edinburgh universities compared hormone levels in 3,200 healthy women to show accurately how the range changed with age.
Doctors claim they will be able to use the results as a benchmark against which to measure others, indicating when they are likely to go through the menopause and how long they will remain fertile.