The current trend in motherhood pushes women to the brink of fertility before families are started. Women are regularly starting families well into their 40s, which could be pushing the limits of the female body, especially if premature or early menopause is likely to occur.

Researchers are working on a test for early menopause that would give women a better look at the future of their personal fertility. The report was published in Human Molecular Genetics.

The finding came as part of the Breakthrough Generations Study which is focused on determining causes of breast cancer. The study involves 100,000 women in the UK. Women participating in the study will be followed for four decades in hopes of finding some link to lifestyle choices, environmental factors and genetics to breast cancer.

The team of researchers took 2,000 women who entered early menopause and compared them with 2,000 peers not in menopause. There were four genes researchers tested. Prevalence of all four genes was very likely in women who had entered menopause early. This could mean researchers can develop a genetic test to determine the possibility of early menopause.

Despite the great excitement researchers experienced when these genes were found, there is still a lot of research to do to perfect the test and give women a time frame of fertility. Authors of the study offered, “The discriminative power is still limited, but as more variants are discovered they may be useful for predicting reproductive lifespan.”

Source: Anna Murray, Claire E. Bennett, John R.B. Perry, Michael N. Weedon, Patricia A. Jacobs, Danielle H. Morris, Nicholas Orr, Minouk J. Schoemaker, Michael Jones, Alan Ashworth4 and Anthony J. Swerdlow. Human Molecular Genetics. 17 October, 2010.