Lisa Curry.
Lisa Curry.

Younger men pairing with older women may reverse menopause

NEWS that sports star Lisa Curry is trying to have a baby at 51 has prompted warnings from medical experts.

They have cautioned women not to rely on IVF for motherhood later in life.

But it may well seem to many women that females, whose fertility has traditionally declined in their 40s, are simply trying to even the odds.

Men can father children well into their later decades; women have always been at the mercy of their biological clocks.

Now with more women taking on careers, and delaying family, this doesn't quite suit everyone.

Nor, it must be said, does the onset of menopause which not only means the end of fertility but can leave women feeling they are no longer objects of sexual desire - or distinctly short of sexual desire themselves.

New research suggests we may eventually see menopause itself delayed.

Not only that, but researchers have laid part of the blame for the change of life at the feet of the male of the species.

It seems human male preference for younger women may have stacked the Darwinian deck against continued fertility in older women, according to research by McMaster University published in PLoS Computational Biology.

Researchers designed and used a computational model and computer simulation to show that male mating preference for younger females in humans could have led to the accumulation of mutations deleterious to female fertility and thereby produced menopause.

According to evolutionary geneticist and co-researcher Rama Singh, the simulation showed that male driven sexual selection has been a major factor driving sexual selection in humans.

If there were no preference against older women, women would be reproducing like men are for their whole lives, she believes.

Researchers said human menopause was an unsolved evolutionary puzzle, and relationships were among the factors that were poorly understood.

Virtually ignored among explanations is the effect mate choice could exert on an evolving population, they said.

However, Ms Singh believed the new theory prompted by McMaster University's research may open up the possibility for menopause to be delayed by hormonal treatment.

This would be a good thing for career women starting a family late in life, she said.

Researchers also believed younger men pairing with older women could help reverse menopausal trends provided these couples reproduced.

That means, theoretically, that celebrities such as Madonna, or Demi Moore, are actually doing all females a favour by having relationships with toy boys.



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