London: Scientists have discovered a new method that can help women know if their biological clock is ticking, and find out whether they are likely to have an earlier menopause and should not delay trying to conceive, or whether their fertile life will end later.
For the first time, a team of Scottish researchers from St Andrews, Glasgow and Edinburgh has found how levels of a hormone, which can reveal how many eggs a woman has remaining, change throughout her reproductive life.
The discovery will allow women to compare their own hormone levels with the average for their age to see whether they should be concerned about their future fertility.
This will indicate whether they are likely to have an early or later menopause, meaning they know whether they have to try for a baby sooner rather than later.
It will also help young women who have had treatment for diseases such as cancer, which may have affected their fertility, to find out whether their hormone levels have been affected.
“This study now provides us with the level you would expect to find in a normal healthy woman,” the Scotsman quoted Tom Kelsey, a lecturer in the School of Computer Science at St Andrews, as saying.
Professor Scott Nelson, from the University of Glasgow, said a major use of the new findings could be in helping young cancer patients wondering how their treatment may have affected their chances of having a baby.