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Tara Matise at Rutgers University hopes to develop a test that will let a woman know at what age she might become infertile.

Tara Matise: I am running a study to identify genes that play a role in determining when women will become infertile. This is the genetics of female reproductive aging, which is a process that all women do go through, obviously. And on average by the time a woman is 51, she has reached menopause and approximately 10 years before that time, is a state of less fertility, and 10 years even before that time is the beginning of sub-fertile period. So about 20 years before you’re going to reach menopause, you are already at reduced fertility, and there is obviously some range of age at which women will reach menopause. And some women get there faster than others.

So I’m interested in understanding how genes play a role in determining how quickly a woman will go down that path. Ultimately the goal would be to identify genetic biomarkers that could be used to give a woman her profile and say, you have the profile of a woman who’s likely to reach infertility at a later than average age, at an average age, or at a younger than average age. And that might be useful information to some people for family planning.