If you are trying to conceive you’ve probably heard of the Anti-Mullerian Hormone and its importance, otherwise you may not. Don’t worry, either way, we are here to talk to you about this powerful hormone.
What is AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone)?
Anti-Mullerian hormone or AMH is a protein hormone secreted by special cells, the granulosa cells, in your ovarian follicles. Your follicles are the cysts that contains the developing egg so the more eggs you’ve got the more follicles you have. And the more follicles you have the more AMH you will make. That’s why we say that AMH is a reflection of your ovarian reserve and why testing AMH can give you an indication of how many eggs you have left.
Think of your ovarian reserve as a basket of eggs. Most women are typically born with a basket full of eggs, and as life goes on and during every cycle those eggs get used up until there are non left.
What does an AMH test say?
So an AMH test can tell you your egg count. A low AMH level points to a diminished ovarian reserve or low egg count and a high AMH indicates the presence of lots of eggs, which is why this hormone is linked to fertility.
So let’s look at it again, if you have a low AMH it’s an indicator your basket of eggs is starting to get empty and a high AMH indicates that you still have a decent amount left. However, it’s not that simple, high AMH can also indicate that you have PCOS so the higher the AMH isn’t always the better. The other issue that a low AMH only suggest that you have diminished ovarian reserve but this isn’t definitive. It also doesn’t tell you whether the eggs you have in your basket are good eggs.
Where is Anti-Mullerian Hormone made?
AMH is a hormone that both male and female make. In men AMH is made in the testes and in women the AMH is made in the ovaries. When you are expecting a baby, anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) is essential in their development. Its activation or inhibition in the fetus around eight weeks after conception contributes to the development of either male or female sex organs. Cool right?!
In puberty its function shifts and becomes more important in females. In the ovaries, AMH helps in the development of follicles. Follicles, as you remember are a group of cells that contain and support an egg prior to fertilization.
Some of the important functions of AMH in the adult female:
- AMH levels can determine a woman’s egg supply. We call this “ovarian reserve”
- AMH levels are also used to determine hormone doses during IVF
- High AMH levels can be present in PCOS aiding in the diagnosis
- AMH levels can help predict the start of menopause in women.
What are some problems that can occur with low levels of AMH?
If a male fetus doesn’t make enough AMH, there can be abnormal development of the reproductive system which can lead to the man having low or no sperm count.
Low levels of AMH in adult women may be related to primary ovarian insufficiency (POI).
AMH levels are at their highest during puberty and remain at a consistent level until we hit menopause. In menopause, there are no more ovarian follicles, which in turn means that levels of AMH decrease.
There we go, now you know a bit more about another sex hormone, the Anti-Mullerian Hormone.