Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) is a hormone encoded by the AMH gene and produced by the granulosa cells in the ovaries during a woman’s reproductive years. AMH controls the formation of ovarian follicles by inhibiting recruitment of the follicles by follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).
For women and couples dealing with infertility, high AMH levels should be encouraging. High levels of this hormone are indicative of a greater chance that there are enough healthy eggs remaining to support and sustain a pregnancy.
Since AMH levels reveal vital qualitative and quantitative information about a woman’s eggs, and high levels of this hormone are correlated with successful IVF cycles, women with high AMH levels are expected to have a greater proportion of eggs capable of developing into healthy embryos as opposed to women with low AMH levels. Healthy embryos, in turn, have a better chance at normal, sustainable development, and have fewer chromosomal issues than their less viable counterparts.
In a recent study of women undergoing in-vitro fertilization, women with high levels of Anti-Müllerian hormone were 2.5 times more likely to have a successful cycle than cohorts with low levels of the hormone. Moreover, AMH levels apparently were a good predictor of successful pregnancy and live birth deliveries, even after taking the effects of maternal age and ovum production into account.
The prospective cohort study determined that AMH levels are an indicator of the number of eggs remaining in a woman’s ovaries. However, it has also been demonstrated that AMH levels are directly connected to birth and pregnancy rates, regardless of the number of eggs retrieved.
The study tracked 892 women over the course of three years. These subjects underwent a total of 1230 IVF treatment cycles in Uppsala, Sweden between 2008 and 2011. At the onset of the study and prior to each IVF cycle, AMH levels in the participants’ blood were measured and recorded.
The results of the study demonstrated that the women were more likely to have a successful result of their IVF cycle as their AMH levels increased. Women with AMH levels above 2.94 ng/ml had the highest birth rates. Beyond 5 ng/ml, the improvement was negligible.
The researchers were unable to determine a cut-off point below which pregnancy was unattainable. However, success rates for IVF cycles showed a dramatic decrease with declining levels of AMH. For participants who had AMH levels below 0.2 ng/ml, 53 IVF cycles were conducted. These cycles resulted in only 18 embryo transfers, and only three live births were delivered at term.
Despite these limitations, certain groups of women would find these results encouraging, especially those with polycystic ovary syndrome, since they may have a unique advantage. They tend to have high levels of anti-Müllerian hormone. The data suggests that women with PCOS are likely to be good candidates for IVF, especially since they already have a significant ovarian reserve to work with.