Melbourne, May 6 : A simple blood test would soon be able to predict the number of fertile years left among women planning to delay their pregnancy to late 30s and 40s.
A team of Australian and Dutch scientists have come up with a model of a test that uses hormone levels to estimate when a female is likely to start menopause that would help women to count back a decade to when their natural fertility will start declining.
"To be told as a single woman in your 30s that you only have a couple of years left to have a baby could be quite distressing," News.com.au quoted Dr Anne Clark of the Fertility Society of Australia, as saying.
"It poses difficult questions like marrying Mr Third Best, electing to be a single mother or have treatment later," she added.
However, the reproductive experts have warned that the test is still in a developmental stage.
The idea of developing the test came after a study by Queensland University of Technology statistician Professor Malcolm Faddy that worked on finding a relationship between reproductive hormones and menopause.
Most women go through menopause between 40 and 60 years of age and natural fertility drops off some 10 years earlier.
"This means that with the variation in menopausal age some women could become infertile as early as their 30s," said Faddy.
"It is then difficult to become pregnant without artificial intervention," he added.
The study examined the levels of anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) in the blood of a group of healthy fertile women that reflected the number of small follicles, present in a woman's ovaries and needed for the supply of eggs for ovulation.
The team used this data to build a model of age-related change in AMH levels and then predict the age of menopause via a critical AMH threshold level.