Saturday, April 10, 2010

The one number all women who are planning a baby need to know !

Many women these days are postponing having a baby in order to pursue a career. The good news is that while usually fertility does not decline too much until the age of 32, for some women the decision to postpone childbearing can prove to be one they bitterly regret later on. Fertility does decline as a woman grows older, and the problem is that it is not possible to predict the rate of decline for an individual woman. Most women are lulled into a false sense of security if they have regular period, because they assume that if their periods are regular, this automatically means that their egg quality if enough for them to make babies !

Unfortunately, this is not always true - and for some women, while their egg quality is enough for them to produce enough hormones to get regular periods, it may not be enough to make a baby ! Also, many women have very unrealistic expectations of IVF technology, thanks to all the stories of the over-40 celebs who have babies all the time ( often by using donor eggs, a fact which is very jealously guarded secret) !

How is an individual woman going to find out which category she falls into ?

Suppose you are 32 and want to postpone childbearing for another year because you have a very good chance of getting a promotion ? Is it safe to do so ? Or will this be something you will kick yourself for later on when your IVF doctor says - I wish you had come to me earlier ?

The bad news was that until now, there really was no very good test to check ovarian reserve. This often meant that most women had to just leave things upto destiny, which can be notoriously fickle.

The good news is that there is now a very good test to check your ovarian reserve !

The bad news is that most women are unaware of this test !

The good news is that this is a very simple blood test, which most labs now offer !

The bad news is that most family physicians and gynecologists are still unaware of this test and what it means !

So what's this test ?

This is a blood test for checking your AMH ( anti Mullerian hormone) levels. It can be done on any day of your cycle. The level correlates well with your ovarian reserve - the quantity and quality of eggs you have in your ovaries. Women with normal levels have good ovarian reserve; while those with low levels have poor ovarian reserve.

If you are more than 32 and want to postpone childbearing, I'd suggest you get this test done. If it's low, you might want to re-think your priorities. If it's normal, then it's fine to postpone childbearing, but do get the test repeated every year. If it starts dropping, this is a sign you might want to pay attention to your biological clock before it is too late !
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