A new study has found that a blood test for levels of a hormone called AMH, or antimullerian hormone, at the beginning of the in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle can help predict likelihood of pregnancy.
The study by researchers at Brown University and Women and Infants Hospital has found that women with high levels of the hormone AMH produce more eggs for IVF procedures, and pregnancies are more likely to occur than in women with low levels.
The finding could aid counseling and give doctors a new tool to adjust treatment.
"Clinicians can measure AMH before or during ovarian stimulation to counsel couples about their likelihood of success," said Geralyn Lambert-Messerlian, a researcher in the Division of Medical Screening and Special Testing at Women and Infants Hospital.
Lead author Andrew Blazar, a physician at Women and Infants' Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, said the finding could be useful for adjusting IVF preparations on the fly.
In their research, Blazar and Lambert-Messerlian's team measured AMH levels in 190 IVF patients, ages 22 to 44, both at the beginning and end of their preparatory course of follicle stimulation hormone treatment.
The researchers found that women with low AMH levels in the first test on average yielded only about six eggs, while women who had more than three times as much AMH provided about 20 eggs on average.
They also found that only about a quarter of women with less than one nanogram of AMH were pregnant five to six weeks after the IVF procedure.
Among women with more than three nanograms, three in five were pregnant at that stage.
The study will be published in an upcoming issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.