Testing Your Fertility Potential
May 14, 2019
Most women assume they’ll be able to get pregnant when they’re ready to start a family. But that’s only true for women who have a healthy reproductive system who start trying to get pregnant. They also have an ample reserve of viable eggs and a whose partner has healthy sexual function and healthy sperm.
While younger couples have time on their side, testing fertility potential via AMH testing is a good idea for women who know or suspect they won’t be starting their family until their 30s or later.
AMH Tests Determine Whether to Consider Fertility Preservation
Historically, AMH tests (performed via a simple blood draw) have been done as a part of the routine fertility testing when couples are having difficulties getting pregnant at home and want to find out why. These days, however, AMH tests are being used for younger women to test their potential fertility.
Anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) is produced by special cells in your ovarian follicles. The higher the AMH levels , the more eggs are available to mature and – potentially – become fertilized. Knowing your AMH levels earlier in adult life can assist you in creating a more informed fertility plan.
Read, Why We Test Your AMH Levels, to learn more about AMH testing and the ideal AMH levels for women 35-years and younger.
AMH Tests Can Be Done at Any Point in Your Menstrual Cycle
The good news about AMH testing is that it can be done at any point during your menstrual cycle. There’s no need to make appointments that are synchronized to specific cycle days.
The results of the test provide helpful fertility and reproductive information, such as:
- An estimate of how many immature follicles (eggs waiting to be released) you have left
- Signs you’re at risk for early menopause or low ovarian reserve
- Elevated AMH levels that would indicate the possibility of PCOS
- Which fertility treatments are likely to be the most successful should you need them
- Whether it’s a good idea to freeze your eggs now to improve your chances of fertility success in the future
AMH Levels Do Not Tell Us Anything About Egg Quality
It’s important to note that AMH levels only provide information about egg quantity, but not about egg quality.
Again, age affects fertility, and as you age, eggs become less and less viable. After the age of 35-years, women’s eggs decline in terms of both quantity and quality. So, even if your AMH levels seem pretty good when you’re in your early 30s, fertility preservation is worth considering if you’re planning to wait until 38-years or older to get pregnant. Similarly, women whose eggs carry chromosomal abnormalities, or who are carriers for certain genetic diseases or disorders may also have a hard time getting pregnant, regardless of how many eggs they have available.
Other Ways to Test Your Fertility Potential
While AMH tests are a more concrete method of assessing egg quantity and fertility potential, there are other tests you can take, or things you can do, to assess your “fertility prognosis.”
Visit your OB/GYN every year (and be honest!)
Your OB/GYN is often the “first line of defense” when it comes to diagnosing potential infertility factors. Being honest about your personal history (medical and sexual) is key to determining whether or not addition tests should be considered.
Those annual visits can reveal:
- Irregular period patterns that indicate something is up.
- Signs or symptoms of endometriosis, PCOS or fibroid tumors
- Indications of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease or STDs
Upon request, we can provide pre-conception genetic testing. This will provide insight into the quality of your eggs (being clear of chromosomal or genetic abnormalities is a good sign). If and when we notice that something may be amiss, we can assess and treat you accordingly, helping to support your ability to get pregnant when you’re ready and on your terms.
Interested in learning more about AMH testing and other things you can do to glean insight into your fertility potential? Schedule an appointment at Women Health Associates