Women with a family history of early menopause who put off children until their thirties are risking their chances of childbearing, according to a new study.
A team of Dutch researchers has found that a woman with one or more first-degree relatives with a history of early menopause is liable to experience earlier menopause herself. Led by Dr Jan-Peter de Bruin at the University Medical Centre Utrecht, the team's results are published in Human Reproduction this week.
"A great number of women are leaving their first baby until 35 or 40," said Professor MacLennan.
Hormonal changes that lower fertility begin at least four years before menopause, so women who are still menstruating may still have problems getting pregnant.
The study compared 22 pairs of identical twins, 37 pairs of non-identical twins, and 243 non-twin sisters, to distinguish between genetic and environmental factors influencing age at menopause.
For non-twin sisters, it was estimated that age at menopause was 85 to 87 per cent due to genetic factors. In twins it was 70 to 71 per cent, which was not statistically different to that of non-twin sisters.
An individual woman cannot accurately predict her age at menopause without knowing the particular genetic factors involved, the researchers say. Menopausal ages between relatives can still vary greatly.
day.Lowered fertility is not the only consequence of early menopause, he added.
"Often women become depressed, libido is reduced and there is an increased risk of premature onset of osteoporosis, heart disease and Alzheimer's disease."Women experiencing premature menopause are the group that benefits most from hormone replacement therapy, he commented.