It is not the most pleasant fact that as we age, our reproductive systems become less active, functional, and capable to surprise us with the best outcomes. As females age, the ovarian reserve decreases gradually. So do the levels of the Anti Mullerian Hormone, also referred to as AMH.
What is AMH?
AMH is a hormone that is produced by the developing follicles. This follicles contain immature eggs. It is possible to check the level of the AMH with the blood test. This gives an impression about the number of eggs in the ovaries. If the levels of the AMH are decreased, this means that unfortunately, so is the ovarian reserve.
Because of the age-related changes in the body, it is natural that women who are above the age of 42, may face some complications when they decide to perform a hormonal treatment.
What are the possible complications?
Follicles may not respond to the stimulation
- The retrieved eggs can be of the poor quality, which means that the there is a chance they won’t fertilize and consequently produce no embryos
- If the retrieved eggs are of the poor quality but get fertilized, embryos might be of the poor quality. For the reference, during the egg transfer, IVF clinics choose the embryos that have the highest embryo quality grading
- Retrieved follicles may be empty, which means that they are not suitable for fertilization. This case is referred to as Empty Follicle Syndrome (EFS)
- There is an increased chance of chromosomal abnormalities. Preimplantation Genetic Screening(PGS) will need to be performed in order to identify whether embryos carry any kind of abnormalities.
Considering this complications, female patients should still not hold back from trying and stimulating their own eggs. It is just always worth to be notified in advance and be psychologically ready for all of the possible outcomes, from the best to the worse case scenarios.
In case the results are not satisfactory, it is important to remember that it is not the final verdict. This type of cases are not rare and there is a good practice of switching to the egg donation program. This way, intended mothers can continue their way to parenthood by using the eggs from the donor.