The average age of a first pregnancy in Australia is now over 30 years with 20% of these pregnancies to women aged over 35. However, a woman’s fertility peaks in her early 20’s and declines from her early 30’s through to menopause. In fact, the quality and quantity of female eggs produced each month begins to diminish from age 30.
These eggs eventually mature and develop from a dormant number of follicles in the ovaries known as an individual’s Ovarian Reserve. The older the woman the lower the number of dormant follicles, the lower the Ovarian Reserve and hence, the lower the chance of falling pregnant naturally.
When trying for pregnancy there are variations in a person’s age, their Ovarian Reserve and their ability to conceive. More and more women are seeking reassurance about their ability to reproduce.
Historically FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) was the principal marker and test used to measure Ovarian Reserve. Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) produced by the ovaries now appears to be a more sensitive predictor of Ovarian Reserve.
Anti-Mullerian Hormone or AMH is a hormone secreted by very early ovarian follicles. Recent studies have demonstrated that measuring the concentration of AMH in a woman’s blood has been shown to be a good predictor of a woman’s egg reserve, also known as Ovarian Reserve.
A low AMH level may indicate low egg reserve and high levels of AMH can be indicative of PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome).
AMH can be used in conjunction with specialised ultrasound to give the most accurate picture of a woman’s future fertility. The ultrasound assesses the number of follicles between 2mm and 10mm.
AMH levels are remarkably stable and are only minimally affected by the menstrual cycle, oral contraception or pregnancy. As a result blood samples can be taken at any time throughout the cycle.
Women seeking information about their Ovarian Reserve to assist with planning for a pregnancy, now or sometime in the future.
Women who have been trying to conceive for over six months, and are looking for reassurance that their ovarian reserve is appropriate for their age. If the test results come back normal they can keep trying to conceive naturally.
Women considering IVF and other fertility treatments. The AMH level, in conjunction with a Pelvic Morphology Scan & Antral Follicle Count (AFC), is seen as a good predictor of IVF success.
Women who have had chemotherapy or ovarian/endometrial surgery and want to find out what effect it has had on their future fertility.
A simple blood sample taken during the first half of the menstrual cycle. A test will then be used to measure AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone). The cost is approximately $75 per blood test (no Medicare rebate). The patient will be presented with a report indicating whether the levels of AMH are Normal, Low or Raised. This reading, in conjunction with the Pelvic Morphology Scan, will determine the patients options. No doctor referral is required.
Simply contact your regular GP for a consultation and request an AMH blood test when you see your doctor. The results of the test will be sent to your GP and they can interpret the results for you.