US researchers have found a link between an ovarian hormone called anti-mullerian hormone (AMH) and IVF success. The findings suggest AMH testing could help clinicians tailor doses of ovary-stimulating drugs to improve women's egg production and likelihood of pregnancy.
Study author Professor Geralyn Lambert-Messerlian said 'Clinicians can measure AMH before or during ovarian stimulation to counsel couples about their likelihood of success'.
Researchers from the Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island found women with low AMH levels in their blood produced fewer eggs for IVF treatment and also fell pregnant less often than women with higher levels of the hormone.
The AMH levels of 190 IVF patients were measured at the beginning and end of the course of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) treatment given to collect eggs for IVF.
The team counted the eggs harvested. They confirmed the women were pregnant after IVF with a blood test and an ultrasound. On average, women with lower levels of AMH (less than one nanogram per millilitre) at the beginning of FSH treatment provided only about six eggs while women with higher levels of AMH (greater than 3 nanograms per millilitre) provided about 20 eggs for IVF treatment.
Women with higher AMH levels were also more likely to be pregnant five or six weeks after IVF - 60.3 percent compared to 23.4 percent for women with low levels of AMH. The researchers hope that this information can - in the future - be used to tailor IVF treatment to improve a woman's chance of conceiving.
Dr Andrew Blazar, another author of the study: 'The main thrust of the paper is that you can do this test even after you have begun the preparations for initiating an IVF cycle, so it allows you to modify your treatment, at least in theory, so that your probability of success would be improved'.
Previous studies have not found a strong link between AMH levels and IVF success. Further studies are needed to confirm these results.
The study was published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.