Science Questions

Is fertility affected by genetics?

Sun, 19th Jul 2009

Listen Now    Download as mp3 from the show Making Babies - Fertility and Pregnancy


Matthew Burnett asked:

Is it true that a woman’s degree of fertility or the amount of oestrogen that she produces depends on her genes? I’d be grateful if you could consider this.


We put this question to Dr Cathy Allen:

Cathy -   Well, sort of indirectly, yes and you do need to have the proper genes, acting in a synchronized fashion for the proper hormonal and cycle to occur, but there’s a lot more to it. For example, there are women who had have very high oestrogen levels but still reduced fertility because of the patterns of the hormones, and peaking and troughing during the month would be incorrect.  So yes, if you’ve got very, very low oestrogen levels, it’s a reflection really of what’s going on with the ovaries and how they’re functioning.


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