Posts Tagged ‘future fertility’

Hormone Levels May Predict a Woman’s Future Fertility

A combination of a woman’s age and the blood levels of a specific hormone may be able to predict her future fertility.

“Women often postpone having children until their career has been well established.

However they may find that it is difficult to get pregnant at this time.

It could therefore be very useful for women to know beforehand up to which age they remain fertile,” write Dutch researchers in a study published online May 26 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

In general, a woman’s fertility ends about 10 years before she goes into menopause.

Now Dutch researchers say they can use a woman’s age and her blood levels of anti-muellerian hormone (AMH) to predict the end of her fertility.

AMH is a hormone produced by the follicles in the ovary.

A higher AMH level indicates a higher number of follicles and eggs in the ovaries.

As a woman gets older and the number of eggs in her ovaries decreases, the AMH levels also start to decrease.

So AMH levels can be used to help predict a woman’s ovarian reserve, that is, the number of eggs she still has available to become fertilized.

Researchers at the University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands, followed 257 healthy woman, ages 21 to 46, for 11 years.

The Dutch researchers were able to link AMH levels to the point when 48 of the women entered menopause.

Based on this information, they built a model using age and AMH levels to predict when an individual woman would enter menopause.

They are working on standardizing an assay so this can be translated into clinical practice.

For example, if a woman receives a prediction that she will become infertile at an early age, she may choose to have her eggs harvested and frozen.

This would give her a good chance of having children later on if it turns out that she has a reduced egg count.

The AMH test is still considered experimental because the cutoff values have not been standardized in many countries, notes Zev Rosenwaks, MD, director of Reproductive Medicine and Infertility at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York.

The Weill Cornell fertility center has been using the AMH test for several years.

AMH levels can also be used to predict a woman’s response to ovarian stimulation in in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles, he says.

Dr. Rosenwaks determines which woman will have a higher or lower response by measuring her AMH levels at any time during her menstrual cycle.

This allows him to choose a high or low follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) dosage even before the woman begins her treatment.

“FSH levels along with AMH concentrations can help a couple decide on whether to proceed with IVF, particularly if their previous IVF cycles have failed,” says Dr. Rosenwaks.

However, no hormonal marker of ovarian reserve is an absolute determinant of success or failure with IVF, he points out.