Ovarian Reserve and the confusion about AMH

Ovarian Reserve is a term used to describe the functional potential of the ovary and reflects the quality  and number of follicles which contain oocytes (eggs). Poor ovarian reserve is a condition of diminished fertility considered to be characterised by low numbers of follicles remaining in the ovaries and poor ovarian function to mature these follicles. 

Ovarian Reserve is misleadingly said to be measured by biomedical markers including AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone) and FSH (Follicle stimulating hormone) and an ultrasound parameter called Antral Follicle Count (AFC) that counts the number of developing follicles.  All of these markers have limitations and recent studies state that they are not able to assess the quality of the follicles or the potential for getting pregnant, they cannot even predict the number of follicles that a woman has left. These markers are best used only to inform IVF protocols and estimate the quantity of follicles that may be retrieved following stimulation.  Therefore AMH/FSH/AFC cannot be considered true tests of Ovarian Reserve.

If you take the analogy of a plant seed. For the seed to grow to its optimum it needs good soil, water, food, sunshine and time. New research is suggesting that if ovarian functionality can be improved then the environment the follicles grow in is improved.  This potentially helps to nourish follicles to be of better quality. An improved ovarian environment is like providing the growing seed with better soil, water, food and sunshine.

Kate Freemantle specialises in womens fertility and has carried out a study investigating Ovarian Reserve and Oriental Herbal Medicine. If you would like to find out more. Please contact Kate@acuworks.co.uk or ring 07880545943.