What’s Your Number?
Find out at the FREE upcoming AMH testing event hosted by Houston Fertility Institute.
It’s normal for a woman to be curious about her ovarian health and wonder if she will have difficulty getting pregnant in the near or distant future. While it isn’t an easy question to answer, there are several tests, including the anti-mullerian hormone (AMH) test, that can help patients and doctors predict whether a woman has a biological clock that is ticking slower or faster than expected. To help women better plan for their future, Houston Fertility Institute is excited to announce that we are hosting a free AMH Screening Event at our Katy office location (in the Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital).
In order to help make sense of this topic, we asked one of our most recommended fertility doctors to help answer some questions about AMH.
What is AMH?
Dr. Jason Yeh: Anti-mullerian hormone, or AMH, is a hormone that does many different things and has important functions in both men and women. As a fertility specialist, AMH testing helps me every day because it gives me a small snapshot of a woman’s ovarian health. This is because AMH is secreted by important cells in the ovary throughout the reproductive years of a woman’s life. Since women are born with all the eggs they will ever have, and the number of eggs for each woman decreases until menopause, AMH levels are expected to slowly decrease as a woman’s age increases.
Why is AMH Testing recommended and what does this test tell me?
Dr. Jason Yeh: Checking AMH is important because it is similar to “checking how much gas is left in the tank.” Since we know what normal AMH values are for a woman in her 20s, 30s and 40s, we can measure each woman’s fertility by comparing her AMH to her expected AMH value. In women above age 30, AMH is actually quite good at predicting pregnancy rates for couples who are trying to conceive naturally.
But doesn’t fertility have more to do with age and normal cycles?
Dr. Jason Yeh: That’s only partially true. For most women, age is the easiest way to predict the chance of getting pregnant each month since there’s no blood or medical testing involved. However, a woman’s body is very complicated and every woman has unique ovarian characteristics so age isn’t the most precise way to measure fertility. There are many young women, for example, who have regular menstrual cycles that actually have a biological clock that is ticking faster than normal. These women are at risk of losing their fertility sooner than expected and should be easily identified with this AMH blood test.
What does this mean for a woman’s fertility options?
Dr. Jason Yeh – It’s really important to remember that AMH is not a perfect test. In fact, there are multiple other ways to check ovarian reserve such as measuring follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). Another way is for a physician to perform an ultrasound where the number of antral follicles are counted (AFC). There isn’t one way that is best so whenever possible, I like to obtain multiple fertility tests to give patients a more complete description of their reproductive health.
Once a patient with true low ovarian reserve is identified, there is usually an improvement in fertility once I start treatment. Because fertility treatments have become so effective, some patients with low AMH can “overcome” this problem by using medications to improve ovarian function each month.
Does AMH tell us anything else besides fertility?
Absolutely. AMH levels that are very high or very low can hint at other problems that are important to identify and treat.
For patients who have AMH values that are very high and “off the charts” I tell them that it is very likely that they were born with many more eggs than the average female. While this may sound like a good thing, women with very high AMH levels commonly have irregular menstrual cycles and should be screened for polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is an important diagnosis to make because, in addition to problems with fertility, there are serious metabolic and health implications that can persist for 5, 10 and even 30 years if not properly addressed.
Conversely, patients with very low AMH may have other underlying issues that have caused their ovarian reserve to prematurely fall. Because the ovaries are involved in many other things outside of fertility (such as cardiovascular, bone, mental health, etc.), identifying women with abnormally low ovarian reserve is important.
The AMH Screening event will be held at our Katy Office location. The event will be on February 16 from 3:00 to 7:00PM. Please call (281) 693-2434 to RSVP. Dr. Jason S. Yeh will be present at the event to answer any specific questions about AMH, fertility in general, or questions more tailored to your specific situation.
This test is recommended for females age 25 – 45 and is free of charge to all that attend. You are also welcome to email Dr. Jason Yeh (jyeh “at” hfi-ivf.com) directly for any specific questions prior to the event.