What is AMH?
AMH (Anti Mullerian Hormone) is a hormone secreted by the ovaries into blood and it indicates the "ovarian reserve".
What is meant by less number of eggs?
A woman is born with finite number of eggs in her ovaries. This is called “Ovarian Reserve”. In every month, number of eggs are destroyed and this is unavoidable. From adolescent years, one mature egg is released from the ovaries and if it can meet with the sperm, pregnancy is possible, However, the process of destruction continues. As a result, when she attains menopause (permanent cessation of menstruation), there ovarian reserve is severely diminished, making pregnancy almost impossible. However, in some women, this process of destruction is accelerated and this decreases the ovarian reserve markedly, compared to her age. This is called “Poor ovarian reserve (POR)” or “Less number of eggs”.
What may be the possible reasons?
In most cases, the exact reason is not known. It may be due to chromosomal problems, diseases running in families, surgery done in ovary, endometriosis, exposure to chemotherapy or radiation etc. Smoking and environmental factors may also be responsible.
How can I know that I have less number of eggs?
Unfortunately, majority of the women, who are having “less number of eggs”, do not know that they are suffering from it. It is suspected if you have any risk factors like previous operation, family history or chemotherapy treatment. Blood results can show low AMH. The most definitive test is checking for the eggs (called AFC- Antral Follicular Count) by ultrasound probe inserted in vagina (TVS- Transvaginal sonography).
However, it must be kept in mind that a single result is not confirmatory.
AMH level varies from one laboratory to another. A single low AMH does not always mean POR. Similarly, low AFC needs to be interpreted with care. In short, we have to look into age, AMH and AFC together, not separately.
Only a low AMH or low AFC cannot decide what treatment you should have. Age is the most important factor to decide the mode of treatment.