A  simple test that could predict menopause well in advance could one day  show women just how loudly their biological clock is ticking, and help  determine how long they can wait before having kids.

A simple test that could predict menopause well in advance could one day show women just how loudly their biological clock is ticking, and help them answer tough questions like how long they can wait before having children.

The blood test developed by scientists measures the amount of anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) in a woman’s blood, which indicates how many eggs remain in a woman’s ovaries, according to the Associated Press.

After measuring the amount of AMH in 266 women between 20 and 40, Iranian scientists consulted a mathematical model that let them estimate when a woman would hit menopause. For the ongoing study, which started in 1998, they took more blood samples and performed physical exams over the following six years. Of the 63 women in the study that have had menopause, researchers accurately predicted the event within four months.

This preliminary research, to be presented Monday in Rome at a European fertility conference, could lead researchers to develop a tool to help women decide the best timing to get pregnant. Though the test can’t predict precisely when a woman will become infertile, which usually happens about 10 years before menopause, it could be useful in figuring out which women may have early menopause.

Such a test could empower women to launch a career without worrying that it would mean they might never have children, says licensed psychotherapist Stacy Kaiser, author of “How to Be a Grownup.”

“The one greatest struggle for women everywhere is not knowing how to balance career and family,” Kaiser said. “Women with a career think they may be missing their window, their ‘having a child’ opportunity. A test like this could give peace of mind and the ability to plan and to control, which right now we don’t have.”

A test to predict menopause could take a lot of the guesswork out of the decision to try for a baby, says Mary Jo Rapini, licensed psychotherapist.

“The age for menopause is so variable,” she said. “Some women don’t go through menopause until the age of 55, which means they could still get pregnant at age 45. So this test could really help with family planning.”

Yet such a menopause test also could make a woman feel anxious or even frantic, says Dr. Daniela Schreier, licensed clinical psychologist and assistant professor at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

“If a woman takes the test at age 25 and finds out she will get menopause at age 45, she may feel a lot of pressure to hurry up and meet someone before she can no longer have a baby,” she explains. “So there could be some dangerous anticipation there.”


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