Addison is a character on the Grey’s Anatomy spin off Private Practice. She struggles with fertility issues, because she desperately wants children but doesn’t have any eggs left. This complicates her relationships on the show and leads to a considerable amount of stress. If Addison knew when she would hit menopause, perhaps her situation could be different. Menopause is a mystery for many middle-aged women who wonder when this stage of their life will come.
According to a BBC News report on the new menopause prediction system(1), anticipating the age of impending menopause can be helpful for women who still want to have children to explore their family planning options. Women who might start menopause at a younger age would especially benefit from this new development, because they would be able to better plan for a family. Likewise, women who are expected to start menopause a little later in life could buy more time.
Women usually start to become less fertile about ten years before menopause, reports the Monterey Herald (2), but doctors can help them predict when they might run out of eggs by testing for the AMH hormone. This research is the first long term study of its kind, and hopefully its findings so far will encourage others to do the same. The researchers in the Iranian study have already presented at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology conference in Rome. Because many of the women in the study are still too young to have reached menopause, the study is still ongoing.
There is always the danger of prediction that makes doctors wary, however. Women expecting to reach menopause at a certain age might make important life decisions such as putting off education or a career, or rushing into marriage based on the results of their menopause prediction. The predicted age at which they will probably hit menopause, however, is merely an estimate. Many other biological factors could alter the results, and women should be warned not to view the estimated age as a definite age.
If Addison lived in the real world, chances are she would very much appreciate this new scientific development. She might have had the opportunity to have a child before her eggs ran out if doctors could have predicted her estimated menopause age. This new study is good news for women everywhere; the idea is to help women plan families with empowering information.
1.Test to Predict Menopause Age a Step Nearer
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/10417797.stm2. Scientists say test could predict menopause
2. Scientists Say Tests Could Predict Menopause
Monterey County Herald