Scientists have identified a genetic profile that appears to enable women over 45 to conceive naturally.

A team from Israel’s Hadassah University Hospital believe the discovery could help improve fertility treatment for older women.

They told a major European fertility conference how eight Ashkenazi Jewish women who had babies naturally later in life all shared the special genes.

The researchers believe the genes might help slow ageing of the ovaries.

They are known to play a role in cell death and DNA repair.

It is hoped the work could help the development of better treatments for infertile older women as well as further understanding of the ageing process.

The Israeli team now plans to study women from other ethnic backgrounds to see whether the same genetic pattern exists.

Lead author Dr Neri Laufer said: “We already have preliminary results demonstrating similar results from another group.”

For their initial research they studied a group of 250 women aged 45 and older who conceived naturally.

They took blood from eight of these women for genetic analysis.

Compared with six women of the same age who had finished their families at the age of 30, the eight women shared a special DNA fingerprint.

Dr Laufer said: “These women appear to differ from the normal population due to a unique genetic predisposition that protects them from the DNA damage and cellular ageing that helps age the ovary.

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