A woman’s ovarian reserve is a measure of the number of viable eggs a woman has in her ovaries. This simple blood test taken on day 1,2, or 3 of your menstrual cycle can determine whether your ovarian reserve is declining and if any age-related changes have begun.
This profile tests for FSH, oestradiol and AMH.
Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) controls the menstrual cycle and egg production. If your ovarian reserve is declining, the follicles are less sensitive to FSH, and it is harder for the egg to mature and ovulate. In response, your body produces more FSH to try to stimulate egg production. High levels of FSH suggest that your body is struggling to make eggs and is trying to compensate.
Oestradiol is a steroid hormone that is responsible for ovarian health. Testing oestradiol levels can determine your general hormonal health and overall ovarian function. As women get closer to menopause, their oestradiol levels fall. High levels of FSH and low levels of oestradiol can therefore indicate menopause, or premature ovarian insufficiency.
Anti-mullerian hormone (AMH) is a hormone created by follicles within your ovary which helps to predict egg yield. The more eggs/follicles you have, the higher the anti-mullerian hormone levels are likely to be. Testing AMH has limitations; it is only an estimate of the number of viable eggs a woman has and should not be used as a definitive test to assess the likelihood of you becoming pregnant, either naturally or as the result of fertility treatment. There are many reasons why a couple may have problems conceiving, not just the number of viable follicles in the ovaries. We recommend that a low AMH test result should be followed up with an ultrasound scan (an antral follicle count) where a doctor counts the activated follicles within the ovaries.
Measuring AMH, along with FSH and oestradiol, can help to identify premature ovarian insufficiency (early menopause) and can give your fertility specialist an idea of how well you may respond to IVF. While no single test can ever predict your chances of becoming pregnant, this test can help you in family planning and the choices you make about when to start.