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New genetic test could predict early menopause

Women in their 20s may soon have a genetic test to predict when they'll go through the menopause

Posted: 18 October 2010
by Marina Nelson

Women could soon be able to workout how long they could delay having children, a new study reports.

One in 20 women starts the menopause before the age of 46, which can affect fertility up to a decade earlier, said BBC News.

Genetic researchers from the University of Exeter and the Institute of Cancer Research looked at four collective genes associated with women going through the menopause.

The study looked at 2,000 women who had been through early menopause, along with a matched number that had entered menopause at the average age.

They found the presence of each gene had an impact on the onset of menopause.  When more than one gene was active, the significance was even greater, although lifestyle and diet can also affect menopausal age.

"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," said Dr Anna Murray, from the University of Exeter.

The results of the study, published in Human Molecular Genetics, is the first research to be conducted by the Breakthrough Generations Study into breast cancer.

"We have made a valuable step towards helping women across the country identify and predict whether they are at risk of early menopause.  This may in turn allow them to make informed decisions about their future fertility,” said Professor Anthony Swerdlow, from the Institute of Cancer Research.

It is hoped the test, which will cost around £50, will be available within a decade and will eventually be able to predict menopause onset within five years.

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20s, baby, children, fertility, genes, genetic, menopause, mother, mum, old, risk, twenties, women, young

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