Infertility is growing at an alarming pace, especially in metros, says a 2012 report from the International Institute of Population Sciences. It is estimated that of the 60- 80 million couples suffering from infertility globally every year, between 15- 20 million are in India alone.
Female fertility is very simply defined as a Woman’s ability to conceive a biological child. A couple is considered to have fertility issues if they are unable to conceive after unprotected sex for over a year. A host of factors affect female fertility; like a number of medical issues like Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), pelvic inflammatory disease, STDs, Endometriosis etc. However recent research and studies points us towards a growing trend. Life style choices, hectic schedules, stress, poor eating habits are having a toll on women’s reproductive health. Today, more and more Indian women in the Metro Cities are delaying their pregnancy owing to their career and competitive jobs.
While not all women may suffer from fertility problems with growing age, recent trend and analysis have a different story to tell. Today women are at a risk of infertility owing to their lifestyle choices. Thankfully science is progressing at a pace and it is possible to determine how fertile a woman is and the longevity of her fertility. This will empower women to prioritise their personal and professional lives.
The Anti Mullerian Hormone Test or more popularly known as the Ovarian Reserve Test gives a fair indication of a women’s fertility. AMH, or anti-mullerian hormone is a substance produced by granulosa cells in ovarian follicles. Since AMH is produced only in small ovarian follicles, blood levels of this substance is a measure to the size of the pool of growing follicles in women; which in turn is heavily influenced by the size of the pool of remaining primordial follicles (microscopic follicles in “deep sleep”). Therefore, AMH blood levels reflect the size of the remaining egg supply – or “ovarian reserve”. AMH levels do not vary significantly during menstrual cycle and can be measured on day of the cycle.
In a recent study done by Metropolis Healthcare, the following are the outcomes.
Out of the 29,621 samples processed at Metropolis Healthcare Mumbai, over 14,807 samples ranked either low or very low in the fertility index.
Over 54% of the women in the age group 30-35 who underwent the AMH test had extremely low or low levels indicating fertility problems.
Over 38% of women in the age group 26-30 who underwent the test reported extremely low or low levels of AMH.
Commenting on the study, Dr SonaliKolte, General Manager, Medico Marketing, Metropolis Healthcare said “Today women marry late and plan their pregnancy in 3-5 years from marriage. Most women opt for contraception to avoid pregnancy. It is important that women understand their ovarian reserve before they take this decision. This only helps them take a better decision and avoid unnecessary stress when they plan to conceive. Having said that, the AMH test is a multi-purpose test and increased level may also suggest conditions like Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (Please refer below table for data). The test is also used to find out age of menopause. It addition, it also helps the IVF specialist to determine the outcome of infertility, whether certain medications will work or not and at what dosage. Good AMH level also indicate chances of live birth. It also helps to identify chances of fertility after endometrioma surgery.”
% of samples with abnormal AMH result (Above 9.5)
An AMH test result that is 2 to 5 fold higher than age-specific reference range may indicate PCOS. In our study, we have observed that the age group 13-25 is vulnerable and at a higher risk. PCOS is one of the many causes of infertility; however if diagnosed and treated early, women with PCOS can have a successful pregnancy.