Events in Early Life are Associated with Female Reproductive Ageing: A UK Biobank Study.
Ruth, K. S.
Perry, J. R. B.
Henley, W. E.
Weedon, M. N.
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The available oocyte pool is determined before birth, with the majority of oocytes lost before puberty. We hypothesised that events occurring before birth, in childhood or in adolescence ('early-life risk factors') could influence the size of the oocyte pool and thus the timing of menopause. We included cross-sectional data from 273,474 women from the UK Biobank, recruited in 2006-2010 from across the UK. We analysed the association of early menopause with events occurring before adulthood in 11,781 cases (menopause aged under 45) and 173,641 controls (menopause/pre-menopausal at ≥45 years), in models controlling for potential confounding variables. Being part of a multiple birth was strongly associated with early menopause (odds ratio = 1.42, confidence interval: 1.11, 1.82, P = 8.0 × 10(-9), fully-adjusted model). Earlier age at menarche (odds ratio = 1.03, confidence interval: 1.01, 1.06, P = 2.5 × 10(-6)) and earlier year of birth were also associated with EM (odds ratio = 1.02, confidence interval: 1.00, 1.04, P = 8.0 × 10(-6)). We also confirmed previously reported associations with smoking, drinking alcohol, educational level and number of births. We identified an association between multiple births and early menopause, which connects events pre-birth, when the oocyte pool is formed, with reproductive ageing in later life.