Women's fertility test available
- Women's fertility test availableSun, 16 Nov 2008 8:39p.m.A simple blood test to predict a woman's potential fertility has become available in New Zealand.The “anti-mullerian hormone test" looks at a woman's egg reserve and may predict if fertility treatment will be successful, as well as help women make decisions about when to have a baby.Fertility specialist Guy Gudex uses ultrasound to check a woman's ovaries but now he can find out more specific information from a blood sample that measures a hormone produced by the ovary called AMH.He said “it’s turned out to be a very good marker of the ovarian reserve, the number of eggs remaining and their likely health and quality.”Reading AMH levels is like reading a woman's biological clock. Levels start to fall at the age of 30 and by 35 a woman's pool of healthy eggs is halved.General practitioner Dr Phyllida Cotton-Barker said “as I’ve gained experience as a GP, I've become aware of the stress associated with infertility and will bring it up with young women even way before they are thinking about it.”One in six couples suffer infertility. For them, AMH can predict the risk of miscarriage and even whether in-vitro fertilisation is likely to be successful.Dr Gudex explained “if someone having an IVF cycle has a lower than normal AMH it's quite well correlated with poorer fertilisation rates, poorer embryo quality and lower chances of getting pregnant.”It is thought that AMH will be available in general practice within two years.Dr Cotton-Barker says the test will remind women that fertility is not something they can take for granted.“it does provide a reality check, shall I go and have my brilliant career and do these things, shall I take this treatment for this disease or is this the best time to be thinking about having a baby.”Anti-mullerian hormone can predict the number and quality of a woman’s egg reserves. But this information alone won't determine if a woman will go on to conceive. The other factors include male sperm quality and a couple's health and lifestyle.