Women may soon be able to plan better how long to wait to start a family thanks to a simple test.
By reading clues hidden in a woman’s genes, it could give her odds of going through an early menopause, scientists say.
Those deemed to be at risk could try for a baby earlier than they otherwise might.
Lead scientist Dr Anna Murray said: ‘It is estimated that a woman’s ability to conceive decreases on average ten years before she starts the menopause.
‘Therefore, those who are destined to have an early menopause and delay childbearing until their 30s are more likely to have problems conceiving.’
They compared the DNA of 2,000 women who suffered it with that of those who had stopped their periods at the normal age.
In the UK, the average age for the menopause – defined as the time when a woman’s periods have stopped for 12 months – is 52.
However, 1 per cent of women go through the menopause before they hit 40. Timing is largely genetic, although weight and the age that periods start have an effect.
The researchers found that there are four genes which all affect early menopause in their own ways, and much more so when they were all present. They added that their findings help explain why some females go into menopause early.
Women who enter the menopause early have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, infertility and osteoporosis, and a lower risk of getting breast cancer.
A womans fertility starts to decline after the age of 30. Rising levels of the hormone FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) tend to be associated with reduced fertility. This test is especially useful for women with irregular periods and for women over the age of 30.
All our insemination kits contain 2 FSH tests. If both tests are positive it is an indicator of reduced fertility. A negative test result is good news but is not a guarantee of fertility. A positive result suggests fertility is reduced and we recommend that you see your doctor to discuss the results and perhaps have further tests.
Read more about fertility tests