New test gauges women's fertility factor
Women hoping to become mothers can now check if they are at risk of running out of eggs prematurely with a new test designed to end the heartache of infertility. One in 10 women will suffer from a condition called premature ovarian ageing, which means that they have far fewer eggs than normal at any given age.Unlike men, who produce new sperm throughout their lives, women are born with all their eggs but the number depletes over time."Screening will empower women with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions," said Dr Norbert Gleicher of the Centre for Human Reproduction in New York.The centre has designed a new test, called "What's My Fertility", which looks for hormonal changes in women.Those who are at high risk are advised to try for a baby earlier or freeze their eggs to be used with in-vitro fertilisation at a later stage."This is the first-risk screening programme for premature ovarian ageing. Rather than diagnosing women when they already suffer from this condition, the test identifies women who are at risk."The test is timely because women are leaving motherhood later than ever. The average age of new mothers passed 30 for the first time last year and in September the number of over-35 mothers bypassed the number of those under 25 for the first time.The test involves an online questionnaire about family history followed by three blood tests.Two look for high levels of follicle stimulating hormones and low levels of anti-Müllerian hormone, which show that fewer eggs are present. The third test checks for a mutation to the FMR1 gene.