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Study raises concern about ability of tests to predict fertility
Date:10/26/2010

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 t
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Contact: Les Lang
llang@med.unc.edu
919-966-9366
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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