Could your mother’s menopause predict your fertility?

Do you know how old your mother was when she reached the menopause? If you’re trying to conceive, it’s a question worth asking.  A new study from Denmark published in the journal Human Reproduction has found that your ovarian reserve – that’s the number of eggs you have left in your ovaries – may be linked to your mother’s age at menopause.

We know that ovarian reserve declines as a woman gets older, but this study has found that the decline appears to be faster in women whose mothers had an early menopause (that’s before the age of 45) compared with those whose mothers had a late menopause (that’s after the age of 55).  Apparently, your fertility starts to decline about 20 years before your menopause – so if you have an early menopause, your fertility will have been affected at an earlier age too.

The authors don’t want to alarm women unnecessarily, and make it clear that their research doesn’t suggest that your mother’s age at menopause will necessarily predict  your chances of pregnancy at a certain age  What they have found is a link between ovarian reserve and your mother’s age at menopause which supports the theory that heredity may play an important role in reproductive ageing.

So, if you are worried about how late you can leave it to have a baby, one factor which you should at least consider is how old your mother was when she reached the menopause. If you find out that she was in her mid-forties, it may be worth thinking about having your own ovarian reserve tested sooner rather than later.

You can read more about the research here