Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

Posted by on Feb 22, 2010 in Early menopause, women's health | 2 comments

Actually, you may not have a choice! Did you know that a woman’s egg supply peaks as early as 20 weeks after conception? While still in the womb, a female will develop several million eggs. Up until age 14, the eggs will continue in number and then they steadily decrease until menopause (around age 50 or 51).

Using computer modeling of data taken from about 325 women, researchers determined that by the age of 30, 95% of women will only have 12% of their egg reserves remaining. By age 40, only 3% remain.  What’s more, age remains the primary influencer of the number of eggs up until about age 25. Then as a women grows older, other factors, including smoking, body mass index, stress and previous pregnancies start to play more important roles.

Why is this important? Afte rall, most readers of this blog are of the age where pregnancy is no longer a consideration and our number of eggs in reserve, pretty irrelevant. However, by establishing how the ovarian reserve of eggs is established and then diminished, researchers hope to be better able to predict when menopause will start individual women. By having a better idea of when menopause will start, you may be able to take appropriate steps in a timely fashion to both stave off vasomotor symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats and maintain body weight and physical health. What’s more, imagine the possibilities in terms of mood swings and depression. The potential rewards are endless.

According to the researchers, they might also be able to predict which women treated for cancer are at highest risk for early menopause as the result of treatment. Since many of these women are young, this might provide opportunities for proactive family planning.

So, all those eggs in one basket? You might not be able to control how many but you may be able to control certain outcomes. Nice!


  1. 2-22-2010

    Liz, I would like to know when the big M is coming, no doubt. But how can this research be put into clinical practice to give me the magic number? Where, when and how would those eggs be counted?

    • 2-22-2010

      Sute – great question! This modeling is still very preliminary and I believe that a easy to use clinical model will need to be developed.However, take heart because data continue to accumulate with regards to predicting menopause. I think that this one holds great promise…


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