Date of Defense:
August 7, 2014
Purpose: This study examined growth at adoption and timing of menarche in an ethnically diverse sample of internationally adopted females ranging in age between 5 and 20 years.
Methods: Data from the Minnesota International Adoption Project Registry were used to examine growth at the time of adoption as well as pre – adoption history. Parents of internationally adopted females ages 5 – 20 were surveyed to assess if and when their daughters reached menarche.
Results: Growth at adoption was determined through clinical measures soon after adoption. Growth varied by birth region, with girls adopted from Eastern Europe showing more delayed growth than those adopted from the Americas and Asian countries. Age at menarche va ried by birth region: Adopted girls from Eastern Europe reportedly achieved menarche later (12.0 years) compared to those adopted from the Americas (10.9 years), Asia (11.9 years) or Ethiopia (10.7 years). Age at menarche was not related to age at adoption , duration of institutional care or growth at adoption.
Conclusions: There was variation in both growth at adoption and timing of menarche in internationally adopted girls by region of birth. Unexpectedly, there was no relationship between growth at adoption or age at adoption and age at menarche. Missing data and timing of the survey relative to the age of the girls limited the ability to interpret these results. The response rate of the survey was low (49%) which may also limit the ability to generalize these results.