Ladies, I know having fertility hormone testing is stressful, especially if you’ve been told you have low AMH (anti-Mullerian hormone) or high FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) levels. Today, AMH and FSH testing is used as part of the process to determine ovarian reserve, chances for conception, or even IVF eligibility.
While we believe knowing your AMH and FSH levels provides valuable information, it’s not the only factor in your fertility health. In fact, a recent study finds these levels may not be as critical in determining your fertility after all.
The Study: A 2017 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) finds having low AMH or high FSH is not significantly tied to reduced fertility. The study included 750 women between ages 30-44 without a history of infertility who were trying to conceive.
Researcher’s findings: The researchers discovered that the probability of conception was not any lower for those women with low AMH or high FSH levels. (The study adjusted the results for age, BMI, race, and recent contraceptive use).
- Women with low AMH levels did not have a significant difference in their likelihood of conceiving over 6 cycles, compared to women with normal levels.
- Women with high FSH levels also did not have a significant difference in their likelihood of conceiving over 6 cycles, compared to women with normal levels.
While the results are preliminary, even the researchers were surprised by the results. Note: They did suggest hormone levels may be important for gauging the success of egg retrieval for women preparing for IVF.
My thoughts: It’s clear that there is always more to learn about hormone levels and fertility. Hormone tests simply do not show the whole picture of a woman’s reproductive health. Today, most fertility experts believe that egg quality (not quantity) and age have the most impact on a woman’s chances for conception.
Hormones Are Always Changing
If you have had recent hormone testing and are concerned about your results, try to keep an open mind. Remember, hormone levels naturally fluctuate. They are influenced by the seasons, the menstrual cycle, your nutrition, stress levels, even by travel and exercising a lot or not enough.
Your hormone levels are also influenced by age, exposure to chemicals, body weight, drug treatments and more. Hormones are mysterious body chemicals. They vary widely from person to person and work in tune with your body’s needs and demands.
Begin with Hormone Balance
If you’re worried about your hormone levels, consider beginning with an overall hormone-balancing program, rather than focusing on one specific test result. As hormones become more balanced, you may see improvements in other important areas like ovulation, menstruation, libido and cervical mucus production.
Having a Fertility Consultation or working with a naturopath or reproductive endocrinologist can help guide you through the process. Wherever you are on the path, remember you are more than the results of one test! Stay focused on your goals, and ask for guidance and support when you need it.
Best Practices For Interpreting Hormone Levels After Fertility Testing
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Study Shows Correlation Between Low AMH Levels and Vitamin D
The Importance of Managing Stress for Healthy FSH Levels
- Howard, J. (2017, Oct.). Just How Important Is Your Egg Count For Fertility? Retrieved from: https://www.cnn.com/2017/10/10/health/fertility-tests-eggs-study/index.htm
- Steiner, A., Pritchard, D., Stanczyk, F and et al. (2017, Oct.). Association Between Biomarkers of Ovarian Reserve and Infertility Among Older Women of Reproductive Age. JAMA. 2017;318(14):1367-1376. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.14588. Retrieved from: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2656811