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Some Fertility Tests Might Be Useless

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Some fertility tests aimed at assuaging the fears of women who feel they are past child-bearing age may be nothing but a waste of money, research states.

Ovarian reserve tests, which can cost hundreds of dollars, measure hormone levels in a woman’s blood to determine how many eggs she has, CNN reports. But a study reveals that these tests are not accurate when it comes to predicting a woman’s chances of conceiving.

These kinds of tests were originally created by clinics specializing in in vitro fertilization (IVF), to predict how women who are undergoing fertility treatments might respond to drugs that are used to stimulate egg production in the ovaries. However, more and more companies have taken to marketing these as fertility tests.

The study examined 750 women aged 30 to 44 years who had no prior history of infertility, and have been trying to conceive for at least three months. The results showed that AMH or high FSH, the hormones measured, had nothing to do with a woman’s chances of conceiving in any given month, neither did these have any impact on conception after six months.

Women with low ovarian reserves can conceive without any problems, experts say, while others with higher ovarian reserves can take some time before getting pregnant. Channa Jayasena, a fertility expert at Imperial College London, said,

Hormone levels change with time, so taking a snapshot today tells us very little about what women’s fertility will be like tomorrow. This study tells us that measuring these hormones to predict fertility in potentially worried and vulnerable women is wrong, and should be stopped.

Those with concerns about their fertility should see their doctor, Jayasena said.

Adam Balen, British Fertility Society president, said, “Fertility does decline as both men and particularly women get older, and so if you start trying for a baby and think there may be problems, or if you’ve been trying for a year without success, don’t delay before seeking advice from a fertility specialist, who will then guide you to the appropriate tests that are right for your personal situation.”

The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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