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What’s the Deal with AMH?

A blog by Dr. Daniel Kort, Damien Fertility Partners, January 7, 2015

Every day in practice, I get asked “Doctor, what is my AMH level?”.

After promptly telling them the exact number, I usually (100% of the time) get asked “Can we still get pregnant?” Fortunately, the answer is almost always a resounding “yes”.

The next question: “What does that mean for my fertility?” is a little more complicated.

While AMH is an important test that gives me a lot of good information about a woman’s ovarian function, interpreting the results can be difficult and filled with nuance. I feel that patient’s should have a basic understanding of three things:

  • What is AMH?
  • Why is AMH important?
  • Why is AMH not the only important thing?

What is AMH?

AMH is a hormone secreted by special cells (called granulosa cells) that surround egg cells within the ovary. Each month, many eggs with these surrounding granulosa cells (together they are called follicles) are produced, although usually only one egg develops and is released. When we measure AMH, we are measuring how many eggs are being produced within the ovary in a given month. Thus, AMH is used as a general marker of how productive the ovary is.

Why is AMH important?

AMH tells us how active the ovary is and how active the ovary can be. Studies have shown that AMH levels can help predict how well a woman’s ovaries will respond to stimulation with medications. Therefore, many doctors use AMH to determine the dose of a medication necessary to stimulate a woman’s ovaries before performing in-vitro fertilization or intrauterine insemination.

Why is AMH not the only important thing?

Couples who need help getting pregnant usually need help for a variety and a combination of reasons. While AMH is an excellent marker of ovarian reserve, there are additional factors that determine the quality of eggs produced. Furthermore, while ovarian reserve is a critical component of our evaluation, it is only one part. Even in older couples having trouble getting pregnant, there are often additional factors involved, such as a male factor, fertilization error, or implantation defect. Therefore, it is critical to evaluate AMH in the context of the big picture.


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