Frequency of premature menopause in women who carry a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation

Fertil Steril. 2013 May;99(6):1724-8. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2013.01.109. Epub 2013 Feb 13.


Objective: To evaluate the impact of carrying a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation on the probability of experiencing premature natural menopause.

Design: Observational study.

Setting: Patients in an academic research environment.

Patient(s): Women who carry a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation (case subjects) and women who do not carry a mutation (control subjects).

Intervention(s): Survey about reproductive history administered on study entry and every 2 years thereafter.

Main outcome measure(s): The impact of carrying a BRCA mutation on age at menopause and other factors, including parity, age at first birth, age at last birth, and self-reported fertility.

Result(s): A total of 908 matched pairs were identified. The mean age at natural menopause was 48.8 years for BRCA1 carriers, 49.2 years for BRCA2 carriers, and 50.3 years for control subjects. Women who carried a BRCA mutation had parity similar to noncarriers and were as likely as noncarriers to have a child after age 35 years. Similar proportions reported a history of fertility problems (12.5% vs. 13.7%) and use of fertility medication (6.0% vs. 7.0%).

Conclusion(s): Women who carry a BRCA mutation experience menopause earlier, on average, than women who do not have a mutation, but the difference is small and does not appear to affect fertility.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • BRCA2 Protein / genetics*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menopause, Premature / genetics*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / genetics*
  • Young Adult


  • BRCA2 Protein
  • BRCA2 protein, human
  • BRAP protein, human
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases