Menstrual cycle length is an age-independent marker of female fertility: results from 6271 treatment cycles of in vitro fertilization

Fertil Steril. 2008 Nov;90(5):1656-61. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2007.09.036. Epub 2007 Dec 21.


Objective: To investigate whether menstrual cycle length correlates with success rates at IVF/intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and could be used as a marker of ovarian reserve.

Design: Prospective observational study.

Setting: Private infertility centre.

Patient(s): A total of 6271 IVF/ICSI treatment cycles.

Intervention(s): Self-reported mean number of menstrual days during the last year was recorded before initiation of IVF/ICSI treatment.

Main outcome measure(s): Relations between menstrual cycle length and pregnancy and delivery rates.

Result(s): Increasing age was associated with a subtle shortening of mean menstrual cycle length. Menstrual cycle length correlated linearly with pregnancy and delivery rates, even after age adjustment. The chance of delivery after IVF/ICSI was almost doubled for women with a menstrual cycle length >34 days compared with women with a menstrual cycle length <26 days. Menstrual cycle length was also significantly associated with ovarian response to FSH/hMG stimulation and embryo quality.

Conclusion(s): Mean menstrual cycle length is highly related to success rates in assisted reproduction, independently of age. A precise menstrual cycle history could be used as a simple marker of ovarian reserve.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro*
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / physiopathology*
  • Infertility, Female / therapy*
  • Live Birth
  • Menotropins / administration & dosage
  • Menstrual Cycle* / drug effects
  • Ovary / drug effects
  • Ovary / physiopathology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Rate
  • Prospective Studies
  • Time Factors


  • Menotropins
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone