The medical world communicates via acronyms: EKG, ECHO, CT, MRI... The
field of reproductive endocrinology and infertility is no different. We've
got FSH, LH, HSG, SIS and SA, just to name a few. But one of the newest,
and possibly most important, acronyms is AMH. Anti-mullerian Hormone.
These three little letters tell us almost everything we need to know about
the number of eggs a woman has left in her ovaries. And, in many cases,
those three little letters, AMH, lead to three other (dreaded) little
letters... DOR, Diminished Ovarian Reserve.
AMH is a protein secreted by special cells in the ovarian follicle (the
cyst that contains the growing egg). The more eggs you've got, then
the more follicles you've got. The more follicles you've got,
then the more AMH you'll make. A high AMH indicates the presence of
lots of eggs, and vice versa. So, you might think, I want a really high
AMH. But it isn't that simple. If you have too high of an AMH, you
might have an ovulation problem called polycystic ovary syndrome, and
that's a different blog altogether.
AMH levels vary with age. What is considered normal for a 38 year old might
be low for a 28 year old. Most data suggests a normal AMH ranges from
1.0 ng/mL to 4.5 ng/mL.
Having a low AMH suggests two things: 1) You have fewer eggs left than
someone your same age with a higher AMH; 2) If you undergo in vitro fertilization
(IVF), your ovaries may not respond as well to the the hormone shots resulting
in fewer eggs retrieved. There is no conclusive evidence that AMH is related
to egg quality. And a low AMH certainly does not imply infertility, especially
in young women.
If you are considering delaying childbearing, it is reasonable to ask your
gynecologist to check your AMH to evaluate “how many eggs you've
got”. If your AMH is low for your age, discuss your fertility options
with an infertility specialist.
For more information and to schedule an appointment, please call 678-841-1089 or