Women may "evolve" out of menopause, says scientist

Women could continue bearing children into their 50s and 60s, says one biologist

By Katie McDonough

Published May 29, 2013 6:50PM (EDT)


According to Dr. Aarathi Prasad, menopause is an artifact from a time when resources were scarce and it was common for women to die young. But today, she says, when life expectancy can stretch into the 100s and resources are plentiful for many women living in advanced economies, menopause is no longer "normal for nature" and is something that can be "overcome" by nature or science.

“The mood of scientists working on this and looking to the future is we will either technologically or scientifically evolve out of the menopause," she told an audience at the Hay Festival of Literature and Arts this week.

The Telegraph goes on to report more of her remarks on why menopause is no longer "necessary" from an evolutionary perspective:

“When menopause evolved, women probably died ten years before it happened, it hit in your 50s, on average,” she went on. “If you're looking at a future where women are going to live to 100, that's half your life when the rest of your body functions perfectly well and your ovaries don't.

“And it's not just reproduction. The menopause brings an increased risk of heart disease and osteoporosis.

The biologist and science writer concluded her remarks with an assessment of menopause that many women who have experienced it would likely agree with: "Is [menopause] something necessary or beneficial for us?" she asked the audience. "I do not see any benefits.”




Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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Biology Children Genetics Menopause Parenting Parents Science