Navigation Links
Study raises concern about ability of tests to predict fertility

CHAPEL HILL The method used to assess infertility in at-home tests might not be the best for identifying which women will have trouble getting pregnant, according to new research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

The study found that the cutoffs used by such infertility tests, which measure levels of a molecule called follicle stimulating hormone or FSH, label many women as infertile who actually go on to have children naturally.

It also suggests that another hormone, called antimullerian hormone or AMH, could prove to be a much better harbinger of infertility.

"That is not to say that these tests are useless, but they certainly warrant further investigation," said lead study author Anne Z. Steiner, MD, MPH, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UNC. "Our findings may mean that we need to go back to the drawing board and change the potential cutoff for infertility in the current tests, or perhaps we need to explore other tests altogether."

Steiner presented her research on Oct. 26, 2010 at the annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in Denver, Colorado. Steiner is also a member of the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences (NC TraCS) Institute, the academic home of the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) at UNC.

Many women have been waiting until later in life to start a family, driving up the demand for a simple pee stick or blood draw that can predict how many reproductive years they have left. Since a major cause of reproductive aging is the aging of the ovary, most of the focus has been on looking at markers of ovarian aging -- such as FSH or AMH as a potential fertility test.

Levels of FSH have been proven to predict the timing of menopause and the probability of conceiving following assisted reproductive technology, but it is not clear if they can also predict natural fertility (or infertility) in the general population.

Through the pilot phase of a project called Time to Conceive, Steiner and her colleagues looked at 100 women who were at risk of reproductive aging, defined as being between the ages of 30 and 45. As soon as these women came off birth control, the researchers began to measure levels of the hormones estrogen, FSH, and AMH. They then used statistical modeling to adjust for intercourse patterns and see if the hormone levels correlated with how long it took to get pregnant. The premise was relatively simple: people who take longer to get pregnant are less fertile than people who get pregnant very quickly.

In recreating the conditions used in the current fertility tests, they found that a quarter of the women had abnormal FSH levels and would be deemed infertile. But when the researchers followed these women for six months, they found that they did not have more difficulty getting pregnant than the others in the study. However, when they raised the threshold of these tests to a higher value of the hormone, they did find an association with infertility.

"So it may be that this test can pinpoint infertility, but we need to uniquely define where that cutoff is going to be," said Steiner.

The researchers also found that AMH, FSH's sister hormone, was vastly superior at predicting fertility. Unfortunately, AMH can only be measured in the blood and not the urine, and even the blood test has not been approved for clinical use. But Steiner says with further study the use of this other hormone may provide a more accurate infertility test.

Steiner continues to enroll women in the Time to Conceive study, which will eventually follow a total of 750 women for up to twelve months.

"Hopefully we can find a better way of predicting infertility so we can provide women with more reproductive control," said Steiner.


Contact: Les Lang
University of North Carolina School of Medicine

Related medicine news :

1. Despite Treatment, Employees with Depression Generate Higher Absentee Costs, According to Thomson Reuters Study
2. American Council on Exercise (ACE) Study Reveals Kettlebells Provide Powerful Workout in Short Amount of Time
3. TV drama can be more persuasive than news program, study finds
4. Study carried out into biological risks of eating reptiles
5. Neuroimaging study may pave way for effective Alzheimers treatments
6. Study finds racial gaps continue in heart disease awareness
7. Luth Researchs IndicatorEDG(TM) Study Finds Americans Hopes of Achieving Their Dreams Are Fading
8. First blinded study of venous insufficiency prevalence in MS shows promising results
9. Soothing infants with food focus of childhood obesity study
10. People with anxiety disorder less able to regulate response to negative emotions, study shows
11. American Heart Association Rapid Access Journal Report: Study Finds Racial Gaps Continue in Heart Disease Awareness, Low Knowledge of Heart Attack Warning Signs Among Women
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... June 19, 2016 is World Sickle Cell Observance Day. In an effort to ... treatments, Serenity Recovery Center of Marne, Michigan, has issued a pain management ... (SCD) is a disorder of the red blood cells, which can cause episodes of ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Global law ... magazine’s 2016 Legal Elite. The attorneys chosen by their peers for this recognition are ... , Seven Greenberg Traurig Shareholders received special honors as members of this year’s Legal ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Topical BioMedics, Inc, makers of Topricin and MyPainAway Pain ... for a minimum wage raise to $12 an hour by 2020 and then adjusting it ... the lost value of the minimum wage, assure the wage floor does not erode again, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... The ... recognize Dr. Barry M. Weintraub as a prominent plastic surgeon and the network’s ... the world, and the most handsome men, look naturally attractive. Plastic surgery should ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... National recruitment firm Slone Partners is pleased to announce the ... as Vice President of North American Capital Sales at HTG Molecular . ... team in the commercialization of the HTG EdgeSeq system and associated reagents in North ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... Mass. , June 24, 2016   ... Spaulding Rehabilitation Network,s Dean Center for Tick ... Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, MIT Hacking Medicine, University ... for Innovation, today announced the five finalists of ... for Lyme disease.  More than 100 scientists, clinicians, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Va. , June 24, 2016 The ... set of recommendations that would allow biopharmaceutical ... (HCEI) with entities that make formulary and coverage decisions, ... the "value" of new medicines. The recommendations ... does not appear on the drug label, a prohibition ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... to their offering. ... World Market for Companion Diagnostics covers the world market for ... report includes the following: , World IVD ... (N. America, EU, ROW), 2015-2020 , World IVD Companion ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: