By Dr. Celeste Brabec, RRC Medical Director
One of the most important—if not THE most important—factor when determining whether an individual woman or couple will achieve successful pregnancy is the determination of her ovarian reserve.
What is ovarian reserve? Ovarian reserve is the measure of the quantity and quality of a women’s remaining oocytes—her eggs. Unfortunately, for both patients and doctors, there is not ONE test which can accurately assess ovarian reserve. A combination of factors, including her age, BMI, menstrual history, appearance of ovaries by ultrasound and assessment of serum hormones a specific day of the menstrual cycles are used together for this assessment. The blood test must be done on a specific day of the menstrual cycle and is not valid if she is pregnant, on oral contraceptive pills or on any medication which affects female hormones.
AMH is a novel marker of ovarian reserve. It can be done at any time of the day, on any day within the menstrual cycle, and can be done even if she is pregnant, on short term oral contraceptive pills or on other medications which affect female hormones. In addition to the ease of scheduling, it appears to be better than any of the other markers as far as predicting successful pregnancy outcome.
Assessment of ovarian reserve is important as it helps a woman or couple understand the chances of successful pregnancy.