Fertility Predicting Tests' Ability Questioned

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jul 06, 2011

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Pregnancy testQuestions have been raised on the validity of at-home fertility tests in identifying the women who will get pregnant or not. The measure of a molecule known as follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) is the basis in these infertility tests used to label women infertile. It has been found that many women so labelled go on to have children naturally. This study was undertaken by researchers at University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. It was also mentioned in the study that another hormone known as antimullerian hormone is a better sign of infertility.

According to lead study author, Anne Z. Steiner, MD, MPH, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UNC, these fertility studies warrant further investigation as they certainly do not confirm that a woman is infertile. She is of the opinion that it is required to review the cut offs for predicting infertility in these tests or altogether new tests need to be devised.

The conditions under which these fertility tests predict infertility were recreated for the purpose of this research. It was found that one-fourth of the women tested had abnormal FSH levels and would be considered infertile. These women were followed for the next six months and it was found that they could become pregnant as easily as the others in the study. Now, when the threshold of predicting infertility was raised to a higher value of the hormone, the relation between the hormone and infertility could be established.

Another finding of the research about AMH being superior to FSH in predicting fertility is not of much use currently. This is because AMH can be measured with a blood test and not urine test. Such blood tests to measure AMH have not been approved for clinical use. Steiner said that the use of this other hormone is more likely to give an accurate fertility test in the future.


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