Future Fertility Tests may be Overused, Ineffective

AMH and FSH and Predicting Fertility

With fertility treatments on the rise for a variety of reasons, many women have growing concerns about their biological clocks running out before they have a chance to start a family. Many of these women seek out diagnostic tests that estimate the number of eggs a woman has left, but a new study shows that these tests are not reliable in predicting a woman's fertility at all. 

Here's what we know:

  • Women are becoming more proactive in family planning and want to be sure that they take the right steps =in family planning early on
  • For women concerned with their fertility, antimullerian hormone tests (AMH) and follicle-stimulating hormone tests (FSH) are growing in popularity even though they are not excellent measures of a woman's fertility
  • The best way to see if you are fertile--trying to get pregnant!

Antimullerian Hormone and Follicle-Stimulating Tests

Are these Tests Effective in Determining a Woman's Fertility? 

A blood test, for antimullerian hormone (AMH), and a urine test, for follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)--that determine how many eggs a woman has left--have become more and more popular with women hoping to gain insight on when to have children or pursue fertility treatments. These tests have been marketed to women looking to take charge of their family planning on their biological clocks, and have even been used by women who have not yet tried to conceive. However, new studies emerge saying that these tests have no indication on how likely a woman is to become pregnant.

AMH and FSH Predicting Fertility

A Study by the Journal of the American Medical Association Says These Tests are Not Good Indicators of Fertility 

Researchers looking to test the accuracy of AMH and FSH tests in predicting fertility collected urine and blood sample from women who were just beginning in their attempts to conceive. The final test followed 750 women using AMH and FSH to predict fertility and indicated that women who were reported to have fewer eggs had no more difficulty in getting pregnant than women with a normal amount of eggs. Therefore, the number of eggs a woman has is not a great indication of how fertile she is after all.

Scientists Weigh In

What's Next for AMH, FSH, and Women Looking to Conceive? 

Reproductive endocrinologist and founder of the Center for Human Reproduction in New York City, Norbert Gleicher, says that these results should not be applied to women facing infertility because the women in the study were only seeking pregnancy and not infertility treatment. Since AMH is typically done prior to treatments like egg freezing, it is normally a preliminary study for infertile women exploring their options. Although AMH cannot currently predict fertility, it does give information on changing fertility levels, which may be informative for women looking to get pregnant later. 

For healthy, fertile women, AMH and FSH probably aren't your best bet in exploring your fertility. The best (and often most enjoyable) way to conceive is to just try! If you still find you are struggling to get pregnant, then it is time to take the steps in considering infertility treatments and contact your doctor. 

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