Is fertility testing accurate? Many women in their 30’s and 40’s are anxious about their ‘declining’ fertility. Capitalising on this, the big business of infertility offers an array of pathology test to determine a woman’s chance of pregnancy. These fertility tests are not only very expensive, but researchers are finding that there is little correlation between the results of these fertility tests and the chances of becoming pregnant.
Most commonly, a test to determine “ovarian reserve”, measures the amount of Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH). AMH is a hormone secreted by the cells in developing egg sacs. The amount of AMH is thought to reflect ovarian reserve, and thus fertility.
Is fertility testing accurate?
Women with low AMH levels are often left in a panic over their potential infertility. This panic may cause them to try for children earlier, freeze their eggs, or undergo IVF.
Researches are now starting to debunk this concept with a study published recently. What the researchers found was that there was no link between a woman’s egg stores and her ability to conceive. So whilst these tests do indicate how many eggs a woman has, it does not indicate her reproductive potential.
Ovarian reserve tests are relevant for women undergoing IVF to determine the chance of successful egg harvesting. For these women, the higher the AMH levels, the higher the chance of a successful egg retrieval. However, for women who have not been diagnosed with infertility, AMH levels do not appear to be an influential factor on the ability to conceive.
So what is the most influential factor on fertility?
Age. There is no doubt, that the older we get, so too are our chances of a natural conception. Yes, our eggs do decrease as we age, however, there are so many other factors that influence the ability to conceive. This includes hormone levels, receptivity of the uterus, nutrient status, stress and equally as important, the male’s health.
So, please don’t let these tests freak you out, or make you rush into a commitment that you are not ready for. Following a pre-conception health plan, starting 3-6 months prior to conception is the best way to enhance your fertility. This type of planning will also support a healthy pregnancy, and most importantly a healthy baby.