AMH Test FAQ
What is Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH)?
What is an AMH Test?
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More About the AMH Blood Test
The AMH test, also known as anti-müllerian hormone and AMH blood test, measures the blood level of AMH. AMH is a hormone produced by the follicles of the ovaries in specific small clusters of cells known as granulosa cells in women.
The function of AMH and corresponding blood levels have gained interest as recent research suggests that the AMH level might be helpful as a measure of fertility. Because AMH is made by cells in the ovarian follicles, the hormone is only produced until menopause occurs when the follicles disappear. In this capacity, the AMH level is also thought of as an ovarian reserve test as blood levels correlate with the remaining egg supply in the ovaries. AMH lab levels are fairly stable through adolescent years until the mid-20s. After that, the overall egg supply starts to decrease until menopause and AMH blood levels trend down until they can no longer be detected. AMH levels can also be depressed in active smokers and in women using oral contraceptives.
The AMH test has become widely used during the process of in vitro fertilization, or IVF. As an ovarian reserve test, the AMH blood test can help assess the egg supply to guide IVF efforts. Additionally, many IVF specialists report that higher AMH levels are correlated with higher egg retrieval during the ovarian stimulation process. According the the NICE guidelines, anti-Müllerian hormone of less than or equal to 5.4 pmol/l predicts a low ovarian response while greater than or equal to 25.0 pmol/l predicts a high ovarian response to gonadotrophin stimulation during IVF. It is helpful to note that while AMH blood test levels are helpful in guiding in vitro fertilization efforts, they should not be used in isolation as the ultimate conclusion as to whether a woman can get pregnant or not. One other use of the AMH test is in the evaluation of polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS. In PCOS, anti-müllerian hormone is typically high.
Give the time-sensitivity of fertility blood testing, some people wonder how long it takes to get AMH blood test results. In most cases, AMH test results are available in four days or less. Also, AMH is relatively stable during a woman's menstrual cycle so AMH testing can typically be performed at any time during the cycle. However, because the AMH test is often performed in conjunction with the FSH test, LH test, progesterone test and/or the blood pregnancy test, performance of the blood draw and lab test processing may need to coincide with certain days during the reproductive cycle. In these situations, it is best to consult with a fertility specialist to determine the optimal lab visit date for blood collection.
Interestingly, anti-müllerian hormone gets its name because of its role during the development and tissue differentiation of a fetus. During early fetal development, Müllerian ducts are special embryonic structures that, if left alone, will develop into female reproductive organs such as the fallopian tubes and the uterus. Cells involved with the reproductive organs in the male fetus will, during early development, produce AMH to suppress (the "anti" in anti-müllerian) the development of the female reproductive structures. There are rare conditions in males (particularly infants) in which the AMH level is used to evaluate problems with the testicles and genitalia.
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