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For each of the phases of the female life cycle A–E, select the most appropriate option from the following list of ages. 

1. 10–15 years. 

2. 15–20 years. 

3. 20–25 years. 

4. 30–35 years. 

5. 40–45 years. 

6. 50–55 years. 

7. 60–65 years. 

A. The risk of having a baby with the major genetic abnormality of Down’s syndrome is around its maximum. 

B. Fertility is at its maximum and the complications of pregnancy at a minimum. 

C. The chances of natural conception are almost zero; the level of gonadotrophic hormones is around its maximum. 

D. Secondary sexual characteristics usually begin to appear at this age. 

E. The risk of coronary artery disease is now close to the male level; bone density is likely to have decreased markedly.

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A. Option 5 40–45 years. This is the last epoch with a moderate fertility; by this time the primordial ova are four decades old. 

B. Option 3 20–25 years. In both sexes most physical characteristics are around the optimal. 

C. Option 6 50–55 years. A minute number of conceptions take place around the age of 50; nearly all women have reached the menopause with its surge of gonadotrophins directed at the senescent gonads. 

D. Option 1 10–15 years. Changes in fat and hair distribution, the onset of menstruation (menarche) and the adolescent growth spurt usually begin in this epoch. 

E. Option 7 60–65 years. Some 15 years after the menopause these changes are associated with withdrawal of oestrogens and progesterone; many women take hormonal replacement therapy during this period; it relieves hot flushes and other symptoms which may be related to the surge in gonadotrophins; some protection against coronary artery disease and osteoporosis can be balanced against adverse long-term effects.

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