A recent article in Science Daily suggested men are responsible for menopause. I think it is good press and poor science; the conclusions place a much heavier emphasis on statistics than on sound thinking. Menopause as we know it today has much more to do with the fact that women live longer now than ever before. Two thousand years ago in the time of Julius Caesar, life expectancy was 22 years. One hundred fifty years ago when Abraham Lincoln was alive, life expectancy was 42 years. In 1900, life expectancy was 48 years. The experience of menopause as a large percentage of a woman’s life is a relatively modern experience.
Of those women who do conceive in their older reproductive years, there is a 50% risk of miscarriage by age 45 and the risk of a child with a congenital anomaly increases dramatically. Women who do conceive have an increased risk of a complicated pregnancy with high blood pressure, placental abnormalities and premature labor.
It is true that men make a lot of sperm from puberty to death — up to 1500 per second. All of these are made by cells dividing. Women are born with approximately 7 million eggs and by puberty, the number is down to 400,000 which are ovulated in groups of 30 or so over the next 30 years. The later in age that a pregnancy occurs, the greater the potential for that egg to possess a chromosomal abnormality.
We are all here with a purpose; and evolutionarily, that purpose is to reproduce. The best time to conceive is during the younger years because that was when women were and are most likely to still be alive to reproduce and have a healthy baby. The most important thing that readers can learn from this article is something we’ve known for a long time; if having children is important to a woman, it is best she consider having children at a younger age – ideally completing her childbearing by her mid thirties. Waiting until the late thirties and forties greatly lowers your potential for success (unless you consider assisted reproductive technology advances such as egg donation which provides an egg from a younger woman to a woman who can no longer produce her own eggs).
Menopause is an evolutionary construct that puts most of a woman’s eggs in a younger basket to increase her chances for a healthy baby and time to wean and raise it to an age of survival. As to the conclusions of this statistical analysis paper, I defer to Mark Twain who stated that there are three types of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.
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Earlier in June, Dr. Mache provided a free menopause webinar that was a huge success. To see that webinar, go to: http://instantteleseminar.com/?eventid=43007484
For more information on menopause, go to My Menopause Magazine.