London: Ladies, menopause can no longer prevent you from having a family because scientists can now predict its onset.
The levels of a particular hormone AMH in the blood can predict when women will reach menopause, the phase that signals the end of their fertility. AMH or Anti-Müllerian hormone is a substance produced in ovarian follicles, the basic units of female reproductive biology.
Generally, menopause occurs between 40 and 60 years, but in highly unfavourable circumstances it may be as early as 30 years, says a new study by University Medical Centre Utrecht in The Netherlands, the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism reports.
The study included 257 healthy women who were monitored for as long as 11 years. Dutch researchers linked AMH levels to the point when the women entered menopause, according to a University Medical Centre statement.
The research was conducted by gynaecologists Frank Broekmans and Bart Fauser, both professors at the Medical Centre.
"Women often postpone having children until their career has been well established. However, they may find that it is difficult to get pregnant at this time. It could therefore be very useful for women to know beforehand up to which age they remain fertile.
"As far as we know, we are the first researchers worldwide to succeed in making long term predictions for individual women," they said.
This knowledge will enable women who are predicted to become infertile at an early age to choose the option of having their eggs frozen. This means that they will still be able to have children even if it turns out that they can no longer get pregnant spontaneously.