Testing ovarian reserve to predict age at menopause

C. B. Lambalk, J. van Disseldorp, C. H. de Koning, F. J. Broekmans, C.H. de Konig

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

108 Citations (Scopus)


In modern society with women delaying pregnancy, predicting the age of the natural menopause with its preceding infertility will allow making informed choices about when to try starting to have children. Also if premature menopause could be predicted in young women, strategies could be instigated to reduce the long term health risks of early estrogen deficiency. This review examines the physiology of ovarian ageing, with the menopause being the final outcome. Long and short term predictive markers of the age of the menopause and the preceding natural infertility are evaluated. Many subtle changes in the endocrine regulation of ovarian function with advancing age may seem interesting but currently are not clinically useful as a predictive test. Examples are changes in concentrations of estradiol, progesterone, luteinizing hormone (LH) and activin, as well as follicle dynamics. Other features hold more promise. Among these are chronological age, family history, anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH), poor response to in vitro fertilization (IVF), basal follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and the antral follicle count for long term prediction. For short term prediction, cycle shortening and occurrence of vasomotor symptoms may prove useful. To date, none of these markers has been found to have sufficient predictive accuracy in individual women. Results of new and ongoing longitudinal studies may provide better predictive models. In particular, use of genetic profiles may add to the accuracy of currently known markers
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-291
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Cite this