In this blog, we cover everything egg donors need to know about AMH levels and the AMH blood test which is typically required for new donors.
AMH stands for anti-Müllerian hormone. It is a hormone produced by cells from small antral follicles in your ovaries. Antral follicles contain an oocyte, an immature egg cell. Essentially, these antral follicles are “on deck” and preparing to be available in the next month or two when your body tries to make some eggs. You can think of antral follicles as potential eggs.
Since the antral follicles produce AMH, testing AMH levels is used to predict how many follicles (A.K.A. potential eggs) you have.
An AMH test is a simple blood test which measures the levels of anti-Müllerian hormone in your bloodstream. AMH testing is available for all women who are interested in a fertility screening. It is useful in determining your ability to produce eggs and provides insights into your remaining egg supply, known as your ovarian reserve. Essentially, AMH testing assesses how many immature eggs are preparing to begin their journey towards maturation.
AMH testing is valuable for egg donors because it provides foresight knowledge about the quantity of eggs a donor has available before she begins her cycle. At Donor Nexus, the AMH blood test is generally the first test we have new egg donors do because many doctors require that it is done before the donor can move forward with her cycle.
The blood test is typically done at any Labcorp location and the results come back in about 5-7 days. Since AMH levels are fairly constant, AMH testing can be done at any time, you don’t need to be on your period when you go in.
In the past, women typically didn’t get their AMH levels tested until they were experiencing fertility issues, which is problematic for determining “average” AMH levels across age groups. However, there was recently a study by the Center for Fertility Research and Education (an organization launched by Extend Fertility) which looked at results of over 2,600 AMH tests among non-infertile women. According to this study, the average AMH levels for women under 30 is 2.91 ng/mL.
In general, AMH values greater than 1 ng/mL typically means that a woman has a normal ovarian reserve. AMH values less than 1 ng/mL may be an indicator that a woman has a low or diminished ovarian reserve.
Most doctors require the AMH level to be above 2.0ng/mL for a woman to be eligible to be an egg donor.
As expected, studies have also concluded that AMH levels decrease as age increases. As we know, age is important for reproductive performance. A woman’s fertility and egg supply declines as she ages, which means that AMH levels typically decrease with age as well.
There are various things you can do that can influence your AMH levels. Birth control contraceptives have strong hormones in them that suppress formation of antral follicles in the same way that pregnancy does, which in turn may lower your anti-Müllerian hormone levels. Studies have shown that the use of contraceptives causes significant decrease in AMH levels. A study conducted by Oulu University Hospital of healthy women between ages 20-33 years old demonstrated comparable decreased AMH levels among all methods of contraceptives (oral [pill], transdermal [patch], and vaginal [ring]).
An AMH level under 2.0ng/mL could be a consequence of someone who has been taking birth control pills for many years. Fortunately, AMH levels will recover if the birth control is stopped. If your AMH levels are low, we may ask you to stop taking birth control pills for a few months and then go in for another test.
If your AMH is under 2.0ng/mL and you are not taking birth control, it may be a good idea to consult with your gynecologist about the result. In this situation, egg freezing could be a good option for you if you would like to start a family someday.
This test is important because if your AMH levels are low, you will find out before moving forward and going through an entire cycle and egg retrieval. It also provides you with valuable information regarding your fertility health.
Fertility doctors perform AMH tests on egg donors because it provides a good measure of the donor’s ovarian reserve. Of course, a good candidate must have a decent ovarian reserve to ensure enough eggs can be retrieved. Having more eggs available improves the chances of producing a few high quality embryos to be transferred to the intended mother or surrogate, which in turn improves their chances of achieving a pregnancy.
If you have any additional questions, send a message in the contact form below and we will be happy to help.