Is Egg Count an Important Predictor of Your Fertility?
Have you been told by your physician that you have high FSH or low AMH blood serum levels? Have they told you that based on these tests, you may have a more difficult time getting pregnant naturally? That you may need IVF?
Women often lose hope in their natural ability to get pregnant when their doctors give them the results of their follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) blood tests. High FSH levels and low AMH levels have been associated with reduced fertility. Based on this idea, doctors tell their patients that when the numbers are too high or too low, their chances of having a natural pregnancy may be tough. They are often told they may need expensive fertility treatments like IVF.
This leaves many women feeling sad, frustrated and hopeless. They have lost some degree of faith in their bodies and the pressure to make a baby starts to take on a life of its own.
But says who? Turns out, this may not be the right thing to tell these women.
Are Women Losing Hope In Their Fertility For No Reason?
A new study published in the medical Journal JAMA, suggests that these tests may not be a reliable predictor of fertility after all. The study took a total of 750 women between ages 30 to 44 years old without a history of infertility and compared them to women who had normal FSH and AMH levels (Steiner et al 2017). There was no significant difference between the groups. Meaning, the women conceived at nearly the same rate, despite their test results. The study’s conclusion is that these particular fertility indicators are not reliable markers to assess natural fertility.
What this study is telling us is what we, as holistic health clinicians, have known for a very long time– that you are more than just a number and you are more than just a snapshot in time on a blood panel. Health and age are still the greatest predictors of fertility. That said, being over 35 doesn’t necessarily mean you will have a hard time conceiving, it just decreases the chances of conception as time goes on. It’s important to remember that this is a gradual decline and doesn’t mean you are doomed if you start your family after 35. As a matter of fact, many many women have healthy, happy babies after 35 and beyond!
If you have questions about natural support for healthy conception using acupuncture or functional medicine, please contact me with your questions or schedule your first appointment. There are many things you can do to support your chances of having a healthy baby, despite ovarian reserve test results!