The Short of It
Many women are putting off motherhood until later in life with the general understanding that egg quality begins to suffer after 35 and fertility begins to wane after 40. But now there is a more precise, personalized test that can determine how many more fertile years they really have by checking their egg supply.
The new test checks for anti-mullerian protein hormones, or AMH levels, in the blood. Higher AMH levels indicate a high egg supply. The results are color coded. Yellow indicates a high number of eggs; green is average; and red indicates an extremely low egg count.
The AMH blood test doesn't predict egg quality or the ability of a woman to get pregnant, but it can provide an early warning sign of a waning egg supply. If AMH levels are low, women can then make an informed decision whether to freeze their eggs before they lose even more.
Egg freezing is no longer considered experimental, but it's very expensive and usually isn't covered by insurance. The AMH blood test helps women know if it's worth the cost of freezing their eggs.
Dr. Samuel Pauli, a fertility doctor at IVF New England, said he would like to see doctors start offering the AMH blood test as a part of women's annual physicals in their 20s, so they can have a baseline and know exactly where their biological clock stands as they get older.
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