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Trisomic Pregnancy and Earlier Age at Menopause

The American Society of Human Genetics
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We tested the hypothesis that the connection between advanced maternal age and autosomal trisomy reflects the diminution of the oocyte pool with age. Because menopause occurs when the number of oocytes falls below some threshold, our hypothesis is that menopause occurs at an earlier age among women with trisomic pregnancies than it does among women with chromosomally normal pregnancies. To determine their menstrual status, we interviewed women from our previous study of karyotyped spontaneous abortions who, in 1993, were age ⩾44 years. Premenopausal women completed interviews every 4–5 mo, until menopause or until the study ended in 1997. The primary analyses compare 111 women whose index pregnancy was a trisomic spontaneous abortion with two groups: women whose index pregnancy was a chromosomally normal loss (n=157) and women whose index pregnancy was a chromosomally normal birth (n=226). We used a parametric logistic survival analysis to compare median ages at menopause. The estimated median age at menopause was 0.96 years earlier (95% confidence interval −0.18 to 2.10) among women with trisomic losses than it was among women with chromosomally normal losses and chromosomally normal births combined. Results were unaltered by adjustment for education, ethnicity, and cigarette smoking. Our results support the hypothesis that trisomy risk is increased with decreased numbers of oocytes. Decreased numbers may indicate accelerated oocyte atresia or fewer oocytes formed during fetal development.

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