There are many reasons why some women find it difficult to get pregnant. The Bluecrest female fertility check looks at up to three important hormones all of which can affect a woman’s ability to conceive. What’s more, the AMH check can also tell you how quickly your ovarian reserve is running out which can help you plan when is the right time for you to start trying for a family. The Pre-Pregnancy checks can be added to an existing screening package or offered to your female staff on a standalone basis.
AMH (anti-mullerian hormone), FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) and prolactin all affect ovary function in some regard. Let’s look at them in more detail:
Anti-mullerian hormone (AMH)
AMH is a substance produced from specific cells within a woman’s ovaries. Despite having regular menstrual cycles and normal periods, about 10% of women loose their fertility earlier than expected. Although women who have a history of smoking and/or a mother with an early menopause (under the age of 50) are at increased risk; identifying such individuals by screening has proved a challenge.
AMH can help predict whether a woman might have a faster biological clock and may wish to consider starting a family earlier than originally planned. By comparing the results with women of a similar age the AMH test gives an estimate of the ‘ovarian reserve’. According to fertility experts AMH is very useful, not only in the diagnosis of low ovarian reserve – if the levels are very low – but if the levels are high this can indicate an underlying problem with polycystic ovarian syndrome, which is another cause for infertility.
Prolactin is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. Prolactin is usually high throughout pregnancy and just after childbirth as it is linked to breast milk production and menstruation.
Non-pregnant women will normally have only small amounts of prolactin in their blood. Higher levels might be caused by excess production from the pituitary in addition to certain medications such as some anti-depressants, thyroid problems, kidney disease and eating disorders.
Levels of prolactin that are below normal can also be caused by certain medications in addition to a generally decreased hormone production from the pituitary. Both high and low levels of prolactin in women are associated with infertility.
Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
FSH is another hormone produced by the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. One of its roles is to simulate the growth and development of eggs in the ovaries.
High levels of FSH during the reproductive years are commonly associated with a poor ovarian reserve or a premature menopause. Low levels may be caused by polycystic ovarian syndrome in addition to a generally decreased hormone production from the pituitary. Both these conditions are associated with infertility.