Anti-Müllerian Hormone – a Fundamental Indicator for Fertility

The interesting name of this hormone is derived from the name of a German scientist Johannes Peter Müller. He discovered in the 19th century that the genitals in male and female human embryos are the same until the 6. week of development. This is the time, where uterian tubes, uterine, cervix and upper part of the vagina start to develop out of these Müllerian ducts. In males, a hormone is secreted starting from the 9th week of development, that directs the development of these ducts in a different way. Because it suppresses the development of female Müllerian ducts, in other words, works „against“ such development, the hormone is called anti- Müllerian hormone (AMH).

This hormone is intresting not only due to its name, but because it is also being produced in ovarian follicles that are ready to grow and develop. The level of this hormone provides the means to measure a woman’s ovarian reserve quite exactly. In other words it provides the possibility to see how many follicles are potentially ready for ovulation and thus, what are the chances for a pregnancy?

Usually AMH level rises in a woman’s organism during puberty, peaks at the highest point of fertility, usually between 20-30 years of age. After the peak, the levels will slowly decrease until it reaches zero during menopause. However, it must be mentioned that the causes for a low level of AMH may not necessarily mean infertility, e.g in case of ovarian tissue removal from one side, the natural level of this hormone can’t be as high, but it doesn’t exclude the possibility for natural pregnancy.

You might want to ask – can you increase the levels of AMH and thus the possibility of a pregnancy? Unfortunately not – the hormone is being produced by an active follicle and not the other way around, that means an increase in AMH will not stimulate a primary follicle. This is why the level of anti-Müller hormone is just an indicator of reproductive issues. According to our gynaecologist Sirle Randoja: “This hormone is one of many aspects assessed in women going through fertility treatment. AMH levels obviously decrease with age and can’t be used to assess the effectivity of fertility treatments. However, AMH levels may predict the ovarian response to stimulation.“

This hormone also plays a role in the evaluation of menopause. According to scientific research (A. Kruszyṅska, S. L. Broer et al) the AMH analysis provides the possibility to predict the menopause 5 to 10 years in advance. This also means that who are not planning to get pregnant in the near future, may choose to vitrify their oocytes and to postpone parenthood.

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