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Keywords:

  • reproductive;
  • aging;
  • fitness

Every 365.2421999 days—more or less—the earth rotates, revolves, wobbles, and precesses along an elliptical path around the sun. Those of us who survive the journey are a year older: we have aged one solar year. Some years we seem to age faster than other years; some people seem to age faster than other people; some systems seem to age faster than other systems. As we begin to mature, reach our middle years, and become elderly, reproductive changes are among the markers of aging that are most notable, particularly among women. What—if anything—can we learn about more general processes of aging from reproductive aging? Does our postreproductive survival contribute to our fitness, or is it just a chance event, a result of selection on other characteristics? Can our insights and research be translated into improved clinical practice? We explore reproductive aging with a wide-angle multidisciplinary lens that we use to focus on four articulating areas: theoretical perspectives, mechanisms, nonhuman models, and health correlates. We propose directions for future work.a