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Biomarkers indicating diminished reserve of eggs not associated with reduced fertility

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Among women of older reproductive age attempting to conceive naturally, biomarkers indicating diminished ovarian reserve compared with normal ovarian reserve were not associated with reduced fertility, according to a study published by JAMA.

Despite lack of evidence of their utility, biomarkers of ovarian reserve are being promoted as potential markers of reproductive potential. Anne Z. Steiner, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and colleagues conducted a study to determine the extent to which biomarkers of ovarian reserve (early-follicular-phase serum antimullerian hormone [AMH], serum follicle-stimulating hormone [FSH], serum inhibin B, and urinary FSH) were associated with reproductive potential. The study included women ages 30 to 44 years without a history of infertility who had been trying to conceive for three months or less.

A total of 750 women provided a blood and urine sample and were included in the analysis. After adjusting for various factors, the researchers found that low AMH or high FSH (biomarkers of diminished ovarian reserve) were not associated with reduced fecundability (probability of conception in a given menstrual cycle) or a lower cumulative probability of conceiving by 6 or 12 cycles of pregnancy attempt. Early-follicular-phase inhibin B levels were also not associated with fertility outcomes.

Several limitations of the study are noted in the article.

"Among women aged 30 to 44 years without a history of infertility who had been trying to conceive for 3 months or less, biomarkers indicating diminished ovarian reserve compared with normal ovarian reserve were not associated with reduced fertility. These findings do not support the use of urinary or blood follicle-stimulating hormone tests or antimullerian hormone levels to assess natural fertility for women with these characteristics," the authors write.

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For more details and to read the full study, please visit the For The Media website.

(doi:10.1001/jama.2017.14588)

Editor's Note: Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

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