Are you thinking about starting a family and wondering how to determine your reproductive potential? Say ‘hello’ to the AMH test, also known as the Anti-Müllerian Hormone test. This handy blood test can provide vital information about your ovarian reserve and fertility.
Here, we take a look at the fundamentals of the AMH test, from what it measures, to why it matters, and how it can help you to make informed decisions about your fertility and journey to parenthood.
The role of AMH in fertility
AMH is a hormone which is produced by the ovarian follicles. AMH levels correspond to the amount of eggs in the ovaries – the ovarian reserve. When a fertility doctor talks about how fertile you are, they are usually referring to this.
According to the British Fertility Society, women have around 2 million eggs when they are born. It is thought that by adolescence this has reduced to 400,000, and by the age of 37 this number is just 25,000. At age 51, only 1,000 remain. In addition to the number of eggs decreasing as we age, the quality of those eggs also deteriorates dramatically once we reach 30. This means that there is less chance of the egg developing into an embryo, implanting, and resulting in a pregnancy.
What does all this mean? That time is fertility! Although many women are choosing to have children later in life, it is thought that trying to conceive before the age of 35 gives the best chance of success.
It is worth remembering that the AMH test is only one piece of the jigsaw that is fertility. While the AMH test provides useful information about one aspect of fertility, further tests are required to give a complete picture. There are many other aspects of health that can impact fertility, including infections, STIs, other medical conditions, and issues with a male partner’s sperm.
At-home AMH tests
With the advancement in technologies, at-home AMH testing has grown in popularity. You can pick up an AMH test from your local high street pharmacy and conduct it from the comfort and privacy of your own home. These usually involve finger prick tests for convenience, however, their accuracy can be hampered by a variety of external factors. In addition, evaluating the results of an AMH test in isolation might leave you with more questions that you started with – it only gives you a small piece of information in a much larger picture.
For accurate results, and real advice as to what steps you can take next on your fertility journey, it’s best to seek fertility testing from a clinic. Fertility treatments are available on the NHS under certain conditions. There are many private clinics offering fertility testing for women in London and across the UK.
Fertility doctors will run additional tests like ultrasound scans, aqua scans, and can also perform fertility tests for men. A fertility doctor will consider your medical history and other influential factors before offering personalised advice for your individual situation – after all, no two people are alike.
How to increase AMH levels naturally
When the cause of low AMH levels is a medical condition like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), then treating the underlying condition may help AMH levels. Some women take supplements like DHEA, but there is little scientific evidence to support this. If it’s something you’d like to consider, it’s best to speak with a fertility consultant first to get their advice.
It is recommended to maintain a healthy weight (inside the recommended BMI), and eat a varied diet rich in nutrients to help support your body through the conception process.
Start your journey
It’s not all doom and gloom – it’s still possible to get pregnant with low AMH levels but you may find it more difficult.
It may be that your AMH levels are lower than expected and you may choose to start trying for a baby earlier than you had expected. However, armed with the knowledge from your fertility tests, you can feel more confident about making family planning decisions.