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HEALTH MATTERS: Kit that forecasts years of fertility.

A fertility test designed to help women decide how long they can afford to put off having children has been launched.

The Plan Ahead kit, which costs pounds 179, assesses the number of eggs in a woman's ovaries compared with the levels expected for others of the same age.

The test can predict the ovarian reserve for the following two years, meaning women can make an informed decision as to whether, or how long, they can potentially delay trying to conceive.

More and more women are delaying motherhood as they pursue their careers, believing they will still be able to conceive late in their 30s or even early 40s.

But fertility starts to decrease significantly after the age of 35 and many women who have put off having children find they are unable to conceive naturally later on.

The Plan Ahead test, launched by Lifestyle Choices, measures three hormones in the blood - two ovarian hormones called Inhibin B and AMH, and the pituitary hormone called FSH.

Combining these three results gives a forecast of the number of eggs in reserve, meaning that women who may face an early menopause are given a warning that they may not want to delay conceiving for too long.

The test has been developed by Professor Bill Ledger, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Sheffield.

Women who buy the test receive a kit so they can have their blood taken by a professional, such as their GP, which is then sent off to the lab to be analysed.

The woman will then receive a letter explaining the results of the test, with a telephone helpline to deal with any concerns.

Clare Brown, chief executive of Infertility Network UK, said: "It is important to recognise though that while Plan Ahead is a valuable test, there are other factors that may cause difficulties in conceiving so it is vital that men and women make sure they are fully informed when making decisions on when to have a family."

More information is available at www.life-style-choices.com, with the kit currently available by mail order by calling 0114 275 5723.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jan 26, 2006
Words:355
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