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295th Friday Blog Roundup

I blogged about the new blood test designed to predict when you will go into menopause over at BlogHer, and while there are still kinks to work out and more studies to be done for the test, the doctor who created it has been able to predict within a four month window when you’ll start experiencing–I’m assuming–those first symptoms of menopause (since, as we all know, menopause doesn’t happen in a day, but instead, is a long denouement).

I’ve been struggling with the idea of whether my 20-year-old self would want to know–whether it would have been more pressure in an already pressure-filled world; if it would have made me make terrible decisions, feeling it selfish to not try to procreate even if it wasn’t the right time.  And at the same time, I know I sometimes need deadlines to goad myself into action.  As I agreed in the comment section–the 36-year-old Melissa knows it would probably be best to avoid the test based on my obsessive tendencies.  But she would never be able to talk the 20-year-old Melissa away from that information.

And, at the end of the day, it only looks at one reason you might have trouble conceiving.  It doesn’t consider any other factors causing infertility.

The Weekly What If: if you were 20-years-old and had the opportunity to take this test for free, would you opt to find out the date (within a four-month window) of when you’d be entering menopause?  How would you use the information if you found out you were going to enter menopause at 25?  How would it have changed your life if you knew you weren’t going to enter menopause until 45?


It’s July 4th this weekend and we’re spending it cleaning out the basement storage room.  We have been gutting the house of clutter for the past few months and a lot of things have trickled down to the storage room with the promise that we’d deal with them in the future.  It is now, apparently, the future, since the storage room has become unusable.  It’s pretty much impossible to enter it by this point.

I’m in a place where I feel emotionally ready to part with old papers and items.  Let’s see if I still feel that way by Sunday night.


And now, the blogs…

Pundelina Kafoops Lives Here has a very emotional post about ending treatments.  While she cries and rails and ultimately comes to a place of peace, balancing out the positives are the negatives, including the heartbreaking question: “I don’t get to see what wonderful person tBG and I would have made. Where is that dark-haired, clever little baby?”

A tiny post by BigP and Me in the moments prior to learning the fate of the cycle, Heather admits that she can see the invisible positive on every negative test.  And that line just struck me with such force that I returned to read it dozens of times.

Waiting Lisa has a post about the way she is treated when she is watching children vs. when she goes out alone.  She writes, “When we are out, people assume they are my kids. It’s been a while and I forgot what it is like to walk around in the world giving off the impression that you have children.   People are nicer to you. They make eye contact with you and smile.  It’s like there is a secret society of moms. They acknowledge each other.”  It’s a wistful and honest post.

Lastly, Believing in June has a post about how infertility seeps into every aspect of your life as well as why she wants to switch clinics and how far she’s willing to go financially to build their family.  It is a simple post that floats from topic to topic, landing on each one just long enough to closely examine it and move on.  And I liked how deeply she unpacked why she does the things she does.

The roundup to the Roundup: would you want to know when you are entering menopause (in other words, answer the Weekly What If)?  Cleaning out the storage room this weekend.  And lots of great posts to read.


1 Pundelina { 07.02.10 at 9:46 am }

Yep – I had the AMH test last year at my own request. I’ve gotten steadily decreasing readings since my first poor result and I wish I had known that I was going to enter menopause earlier than your average bear. Maybe I would have gotten pregnant while I was younger. (But then maybe I wouldn’t have met and married my darling. The maybes just kill me.)

In essence I do think it’s an important test to have. Really, I wish I’d had it in February 2008 when we started TTCing. Back then it would surely have been low already (my other tests came back normal) and we might have chosen to jump into assisted conception as fast as possible instead of dithering around thinking it would happen naturally.

Thanks for including my FCFU post Mel.


2 Heather { 07.02.10 at 10:41 am }

I would have the test because I am curious. In my family menopause is a very long and drawn out process with women still having irregular periods into their 70’s. I would like to be prepared if that is my fate…I pray it isn’t. I am already so sick of my reproductive organs messing with me.

3 loribeth { 07.02.10 at 10:54 am }

Absolutely, I would get the test. Right now, at 49, I know my reproductive days are pretty much behind me, but I’m still waiting for the final curtain — I still get my periods. It all feels kind of pointless at this point of my life. I’d like to know just how much longer I can expect this to go on.

Of course, knowing that you’ll hit menopause at, say 45, doesn’t necessarily mean you are fertile up to that point. Women shouldn’t take it as invitation to postpone ttc until they are 40. There may still be other reasons why you aren’t able to get pregnant. But still, knowledge is power, & this would be one more piece of the puzzle you could use when making life decisions.

4 Jo { 07.02.10 at 12:03 pm }

Yep, I’d do it. I’m way too OCD NOT to. Anything that could help me plan the future, I’m game for.

5 Keiko { 07.02.10 at 12:07 pm }

Your weekly what if nearly knocked me back in my seat. While I know that the AMH test isn’t the greatest predictor of possible POF/POI down the road (I actually consulted with Dr. Lawrence Nelson of the NICHD this morning after reading your post to see if the test mentioned is applicable to POF/POI), if there WAS a test that could have told me, at age 20, I would enter and complete menopause within the first 2 months of turning 27, I would have lived my life very differently.

Had I not the POF diagnosis… I don’t know if I’d want to know. In some ways, I feel like life should just take you by surprise and go as it does. What if we knew the day we would die? Why let your future be structured by something that may or may not happen as the test predicts? It comes back to this idea of planning with cautious optimism for the future, but living completely in the moment.

6 Myndi { 07.02.10 at 1:02 pm }

It’s a little different for me because by 20, I was married with a baby. Divorced at 22, I still hadn’t found anyone at 30 and had given up on the idea of settling down and having more children so…it wouldn’t have answered a pressing question for me at the time. At 20, I just assumed having babies was a given and would be easy (snark, snark), so I don’t think I would have taken it, simply because of my state of mind.

7 Waiting Lisa { 07.02.10 at 1:30 pm }

Thank you for mentioning my blog.

When you said menopause doesn’t happen in a day I had to laugh because I am a rare exception. I went from not being anywhere near menopause to being completely done with it in just one surgery. My surgeon refered to it as instant menopause.

8 HereWeGoAJen { 07.02.10 at 1:35 pm }

I would have taken it. I am all about information. I don’t know if it would have changed anything, we started trying pretty young anyway.

9 Jackie { 07.02.10 at 3:44 pm }

I definitely would have gotten the test! I wish I could now, since nearly all the women in my family have had hysterectomies in their 40’s (some in their late 30’s) due to fibroids and cysts and various other female problems.
If I was going thru menopause at 25, it would’ve made me pursue treatment sooner. Luckily I was already engaged to DH at age 20, so we just would have started trying right away instead of waiting 2 years, and I wouldn’t have taken “no” for an answer when DH refused to get his first SA.
If I was going to go thru it at 45, my life wouldn’t change much as that’s still 19 years away for me, and I’ve always assumed I’d have my own hysterectomy by then anyway.

10 Heather { 07.02.10 at 6:17 pm }

I lost my ute when I was 23. I went from non-menopausal to menopausal in 15 minutes of surgery.

I knew…always, I knew.

It’s not good to know. Because, you KNOW. You know the end is near. Life is going to change. You are never going to be “like everyone else.”

11 Elizabeth { 07.02.10 at 8:39 pm }

I agree with Loribeth that just because you’re not menopausal doesn’t mean you’re fertile. It’s too simplistic or dichotomous a piece of information for me. (our IF was unexplained)

12 Valery Val { 07.03.10 at 3:14 pm }

Looking from the side of POF it now seems it would have been helpful. Even though I only met my DH at 32 it might have made the difference, we might have been on time instead of finding out we were too late at 36. He is a numbers person, he would have liked exact information. We might have considered embryo freezing if he really felt he was not ready.
I’m thinking though that it would make more sense taking the test when you’re starting to consider TTC versus waiting rather than at age 20.

13 Baby Smiling In Back Seat { 07.03.10 at 7:19 pm }

It seems like many women don’t realize they’re in menopause even after it’s started. Given my unpredictable cycles, I may very well be one of those people. So the test would be helpful not just to tell the future but to tell the present.

However, I’d hope that the test wouldn’t give people a false sense of security. Just because menopause won’t start for X number of years doesn’t mean that you’ll be fertile that whole time — or at all, in my case, having started TTC at 26.

14 Dana { 07.03.10 at 7:24 pm }

I’d definitely would have started earlier having children if I knew I’d enter menopause earlier, to leave more options open.

This being said… I’m adopted, and my bio-mother found me last year, and I got a health history for the first time ever… and she informed me that early onset menopause runs in the family!!! ACK! If I knew that, I definitely wouldn’t have waited until 27 to start my family, I’d have started more around 24-25.

I didn’t even know such a test existed, I want one now! I wonder if any insurance covers it or how expensive it is.

15 loribeth { 07.03.10 at 9:22 pm }

Someone left this link on my blog — I thought about your post as I read it:


16 Bea { 07.04.10 at 8:17 am }

First of all, I remain skeptical about the four-month-window prediction. I’m seeing future headlines: Menopause test: not as accurate as we thought.

At any rate, let’s say it’s only accurate to within a two year window – that’s still locking it down quite a lot. I think I would want to hear “normal” or “premature” but perhaps not the date itself.


17 Bea { 07.04.10 at 8:19 am }

Oh, just read the above link by loribeth. Well put, Doc.


18 Claire { 07.05.10 at 4:03 am }

Great questions — great link from Loribeth.

I think tests are important and sometimes helpful, but it is only half of the equation. No test is 100% accurate. The other thing I would have needed was doctors willing to interpret the results with me — even if I looked really young at the time. I was pretty baby faced in my 20’s, and I was also very premenopausal. No amount of FSH testing and no amount of telling my doctors my history (including 90% of my ovaries remove) led to any doctors saying anything but an emphatic ‘you can wait.’ I need to forgive them and myself for the advice and taking this advice…. but if there is a bias not to talk about fertility with young women, tests won’t do much. Information can bring more guilt and worry unless you have a way to make sense of it and decide how to proceed.

So yes.. more information is good, but it needs a culture around it to help people sort out what to do with it. For me that means everything from doctors that are comfortable discussing fertility with women of all ages, academic / professional flexibilities that are not so either or about parents and study, and work career paths that allow for women more options that don’t pit biological realities against the theoretically more flexible realities of professional and personal development. Yes there is no way I could have done my studies and internships the way I did them AND have kids… but there is no reason I couldn’t have done some of the internships and study and work while raising kids. But that wasn’t an option for me because of how grad school was set up and because I couldn’t get health insurance without full time work/school.

The one group that understood the reality of my situation was the insurance companies that took one look at my history and wrote DENIED DENIED DENIED on all my applications.

So in short I would have taken the tests… but given how doctors responded to my elevated FSH levels, I suspect that nothing would have changed with a test that suggested the same outcome, just earlier.

19 Grace { 07.10.10 at 5:05 am }

I think maybe I would. I don’t know that I would have had the foresight to test when I was younger, even though I seem to have always known that this was my lot. Now, though, that we are on the very verge of the end, I think I would like to know. If we quit now are we giving up too soon? Or are we justified in letting our emotions and our pocketbook begin to recover now?

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