More and more women are waiting to start their families until later in life. It isn’t that they don’t want children. They just figure that they have time. They want to have their education, career and other important life elements in order before they start having children.
This plan works out well for some women. Other women, however, have found out too late that their fertility lifespan has practically, if not completely expired when they feel that they are ready to start thinking seriously about a family. Had they known beforehand that their fertility lifespan was shorter than that of their peers or that the medical condition they were faced with would eliminate their chances at getting pregnant, they might have made a different choice.
This tragedy may be what helped fuel some recent research pertaining to the fertility lifespan of women. While researchers cannot reverse the clock for women that have lost their fertility, they can help women that will soon face the decision between starting a family now or later – or, at the very least, secure a way to make pregnancy a possibility later in life through methods like fertility preservation.
Experts from both Edinburgh and Glasgow universities conducted studies on anti-Mullerian Hormone samples from 3,200 different healthy women. Before the study, they knew that high levels of this hormone were good for conception and low levels made it difficult to conceive but they really weren’t able to use it to determine a woman’s fertility lifespan. Now, based on the results of the studies, they have developed a “normal” range of AMH for women during various stages of life.
Ranges of the AMH can help doctors counsel their patients about how long they may have until their conception window is closed. They can also use it to counsel young women about how their fertility may be affected by certain medical treatments, like chemotherapy.
Through this research, more women may be able to make an educated decision about waiting to conceive. And while some women may stick with their decision or will decide that having a family isn’t a priority in their life, there are sure to be many that will choose a different path, especially if having a family is an important life goal that they know they might not get to experience if they wait.
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