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“It Only Takes One Good Egg” (and Sperm)

Sometimes it seems simple enough. One sperm fertilizes one egg and nine months later a baby is born. Yet, as we know, so many more factors contribute to the birth of this baby and as much as fertility and reproductive science have discovered and achieved, there is still an element of uncertainty, hope and chance within the process of producing a new life. One way the field of reproductive fertility has measured a woman’s reproductive health is through a simple blood test which measures important hormonal levels—AMH and FSH. Typically a high AMH is good and a low AMH not so good. Conversely, a low FSH is good and a high FSH not so good. But new research is calling this blood test into question. As reported in a recent article in The New York Times, doctors are discovering that these blood tests may not be as accurate a predictor of one’s fertility and thus ability to have a child as once originally thought. The article sites women whose blood tests were not promising but who, within a year of trying to conceive, were able to become pregnant naturally. This has dismayed some doctors and researchers. What we do know conclusively is that age is the best predictor of fertility. When it comes to IVF though the blood tests measuring AMH and FSH are still extremely important, as IVF patients with a high AMH have a greater chance of success with the procedure.

While we do advise our patients to take this blood test, which measures both AMH and FSH, we always stay on top of the most recent studies and publications and are taking this one into consideration as well. Suggesting donor eggs is always our very last resort, and we work with our patients to explore all possible options. Our philosophy regarding this blood test and its efficacy and value aligns with what one of the doctors quoted in the NYTs article says, “It takes only one good egg.” We should also add that it takes one good sperm as well. (See the previous blog post).

“Raising Concerns About a Widely Used Test to Measure Fertility”, The New York Times, Oct. 16, 2017