There’s been a lot of information circulating recently about AMH – the hormone that can reveal how many eggs you have left. But does finding out this magic number give you an accurate story about how fertile you are? Before you rush off to check your egg count, make sure you’re clued up on what the test can and can’t tell you.
What is AMH?
The Anti- Müllerian Hormone (AMH) is a hormone made by the ovaries, that can predict your ovarian reserve – in other words, the number of eggs you have. While men continually produce sperm throughout their lives, women are born with their total egg supply, which decreases with age. From the age of 30, your egg supply begins to rapidly decline. This means that for many women in their late 30’s and 40’s, the test can help predict how capable your ovaries are when it comes to trying for a baby or ongoing fertility treatments.
Read more about fertility issues here:
- Why some women have a low egg count and what this means for your fertility
- Wait! Are experts telling porkies about female fertility after the age of 35?!
- How long can it really take to fall pregnant?
What the AMH score tells you about fertility
The AMH test is a hormonal blood test that estimates the number of eggs you have in your ovaries. It can help your fertility specialist predict how you’ll go with fertility treatments like IVF. A normal range of AMH is considered any score over 1, while a score under 1 indicates a depleted level of eggs. While the test can be done any time during your cycle, the AMH score can be affected by factors such as the birth control pill or weight loss.
Disadvantages of the test
Discovering your AMH score can cause unnecessary panic. Having a score less than one does not mean you will have difficulty falling pregnant. The test alone does not tell you how fertile you are – just how many eggs you have. Experts agree that a woman’s age is the best predictor of egg quality and therefore fertility.
Advantages of the test
Similarly, research suggests that the AMH score does not necessarily determine your IVF outcome. However, for women over 35, when egg supplies are in sharp decline, having a higher AMH level was associated with higher IVF live birth rates. So the test may be valuable for women over 35 when fertility is lower. The test score, together with a full understanding of your fertility (including information about your family history, genetic testing, ultrasounds and your desired number of children) can help your fertility specialist decide on the best treatment path to take.
Approach the test cautiously
If you decide you’d like to do the AMH test, make sure you’re supported by a health professional who can help you interpret the results and consider your overall situation. Experts urge women to remember that the AMH score should be just one bit of information that builds a picture of your fertility prospects. On its own, the AMH test cannot tell you about the quality of your eggs, which is far more indicative as to how fertile you actually are. Many women with a low AMH score will go onto fall pregnant on their first cycle. Similarly, a woman with a high AMH score may not conceive successfully.
Remember, fertility is about quality, not quantity
Unfortunately, there’s no good test for egg quality, and this is the one thing that counts when it comes to falling pregnant and having a baby. No one can predict when your eggs will run out or how good the ones you have are. Your age is a better predictor for fertility than AMH. If you take the test, remember that a low score does not reduce your chance of having a baby. However, this score, together with a holistic picture of your circumstances can help your fertility specialist determine the best options for you.