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Like Mother Like Daughter: Study Proves Link Between Mother's Menopause and Daughter's Fertility

US News Health,  Nov 7, 2012

November 7, 2012

A Danish study out of the Copenhagen University Hospital has discovered a hereditary cause of decreased ovarian reserve. The study published in the journal Human Reproduction suggests earlier age of menopausal onset in mothers may predict a decline in anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) and antral follicle count (AFC)—the most accurate predictors of ovarian reserve—in their daughters.

The study sample of more than 500 Danish women of reproductive age between 20 and 40 years was divided into groups according to their mother’s age of menopausal onset. One group of women whose mothers entered menopause before the age of 45, one group of normal menopause age 46 to 54, and another group of late onset menopause older than 55 years of age.

AMH was determined via blood work, and AFC was observed through ultrasound. After controlling for environmental factors such as smoking, history of birth control use, and BMI, results showed a decline in both AMH and AFC in women whose mother’s experienced early onset menopause. AMH declined by nearly 9%, 7%, and 4% per group per year, respectively. AFC declined by nearly 6%, 5%, and 3%, respectively.

Researchers also discovered lower AMH and AFC in women who use birth control pills, however, that is likely a short-term side effect of the drug. Daughters of mothers who smoked during pregnancy also showed an 11% decrease in AFC, but not AMH.

These findings are important considerations in regards to fertility treatment and contraception, though further research is warranted.

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