Anti-Müllerian Hormone: A Marker for Fertility
Many fertility specialists consider Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH) a reliable marker for female fertility. Actually, they can assess a woman’s ovary function or dysfunction by measuring this specific hormone.
Anti-Müllerian hormone is an essence produced in granule cells of primary, pre-antral and antral follicles in the ovary. As the follicles grow in size AMH production is gradually decreased and eventually stops. For follicles with diameter over 8 mm no hormone is produced. Due to this fact, its levels are quite stable and therefore it can be measured any day of a woman’s cycle.
How Anti-Müllerian hormone works as a fertility test
Since AMH is only produced in small ovarian follicles, its blood levels are used to estimate the size of the pool of growing follicles. As women age the number of ovarian follicles declines, so the levels of the AMH hormone decline as well. Women with many small ovarian follicles, like those with the polycystic ovarian syndrome, have high levels of AMH. On the other hand women who have a few follicles left in their ovaries, as well as women close to menopause have low levels of the hormone.
AMH levels seem to affect pregnancy chances after IVF treatment. Women with higher levels of the hormone tend to have a better response to ovarian stimulation for IVF treatment and therefore more oocytes are harvested from the ovaries. A higher number of oocytes available for IVF usually translates into higher chances of a successful outcome.
Most probably, Anti-Müllerian hormone levels do not reflect egg quality but more eggs mean more ‘’material’’ for fertility specialists to work with. Thus, it is more possible to have at least one embryo of high quality after fertilisation, available for embryo transfer into the womb.
The interpretation of AMH levels is an issue not yet resolved since it is a relatively recent test and fertility specialists have not quite agreed on what is called ‘’normal levels’’ of AMH. Even so, according to experts, if a woman’s AMH levels are low for her age is an indication of lower pregnancy chances than expected, with or without IVF.
Conclusively, each patient’s ovarian reserve status should be taken into account in order to achieve a successful outcome. Some women display a diminished egg reserve sooner than expected. The average age of menopause is 51, yet 10% of women experience absence of menstrual periods by age 45 and a low egg reserve roughly 13 years prior, at their early 30’s.