Researchers have found a hormone test to predict the potential outcome of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures. The antimullerian hormone (AMH) is present in high levels in women who produce more eggs. These women are more likely to conceive using IVF compared to women with lower levels of the hormone. 

IVF is an expensive and pain-staking process. With so much at stake, experts and doctors are constantly trying to find new ways to predict IVF outcome. According to a new study from Brown University and Women & Infants Hospital, the hormone test administered at the beginning of the IVF cycle may give doctors an idea of how many eggs the harvest will collect. The test can be completed before ovaries are stimulated and, based on the results, advise couples of the possible outcome before eggs are harvested.

The test can be used for women undergoing multiple IVF cycles or to quickly adjust hormone supplementation to increase the chances of a successful fertilization. While the test can be done before a cycle, researchers and doctors hope AMH testing will eventually be available once a cycle has begun. If a doctor gained access to a test that predicted how current treatments were working, or not working, therapies and treatments could be changed to increase chances of pregnancy even in the middle of a cycle.

Nearly 200 women took part in the study. The participants included women as young as 22 but no older than 44. Testing was completed at the beginning of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) treatment and after treatment was completed. During egg harvesting, women with low AMH levels supplied about six eggs. Women with AMH levels three times higher than low levels produced about 20 eggs. With 14 more eggs to work with, pregnancy rates are higher. Researchers also noted that women with higher levels of AMH were more likely to conceive using harvested eggs.

There were women in the study with low AMH levels who did become pregnant and, alternatively, women with high AMH levels who did not become pregnant. Most other studies on the connected between AMH and pregnancy were inconclusive, so experts are not recommending women skip an IVF treatment just because hormone levels are low.

The study will be published in American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Source: Andrew S. Blazar, Geralyn Lambert-Messerlian, Richard Hackett, Stephan Krotz, Sandra A. Carson and Jared C. Robins. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 3 May, 2011 (Online.)