Sheffield University professor Bill Ledger claims he has developed a test which will predict the decline of a woman's fertility by comparing hormone levels to results from other women.
The first two are Inhibin B and AMH, which decline as the menopause approaches.
The third is a pituitary hormone known as FSH - this tends to increase when the menopause nears.
A combination of the three will indicate the woman's reserve fertility, scientists say.
This is then plotted onto a graph showing the woman's position compared with the average fertility for women of the same age.
The predictive nature of this test means that the woman's ovarian reserve can be predicted for the next two years, says manufacturer Lifestyle Choices which is linked to the University of Sheffield.
The test costs £179 in British pounds or about $339 US.
Used in advance of IVF, it would give women judged to have a low chance of success time to prepare emotionally for the heartache of failing to conceive.
It could also allow those judged to be the least fertile to decide against having IVF, which costs up to £7,000 a time.
Prof Ledger said: "I don't think you can persuade a woman not to have a go with IVF because they are really desperate and it is a life-changing thing to decide you'll never have children.
"But you can soften the blow if you warn them from the start that the hormone results are dreadful and the chance of getting eggs, let alone embryos and babies is less than say, five per cent."
Women with poor odds can then consider donor eggs or adoption. Egg donation is harder to arrange in jurisdictions where donors can not sell their eggs. But British women who want to buy eggs could probably buy eggs in America. That'd increase the cost due to travel expenses. But some women can afford it.
Figures from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority show that fertility rates plummet beyond the age of 35, reaching almost zero by 45. Miscarriage also becomes a risk the older women conceive. At 40, the risk is double that at 20 years, with 40% of all pregnancies leading to miscarriages.
Fewer eggs and less chance of a pregnancy going to completion both work against successful pregnancies once a woman reaches her 40s. Though some women age more slowly and still can have successful pregnancies into their 40s.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2006 November 19 07:31 PM Biotech Reproduction|