What is the “egg count” test?

The egg count test is a test for anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH).  This is a simple blood test that can be done at any time of the menstrual cycle.  AMH is produced by the primitive little eggs of the ovaries.  Once the primitive eggs start growing, they effectively stop producing AMH. As a result, the AMH is a good test measuring the number of primitive eggs a woman have.

A woman is born with all the eggs she will ever have in her life. These eggs are gradually used up over the years. At birth and in pre-pubertal years, these eggs are all held in the ovaries as primitive little eggs.  When ovulation occurs after puberty, one’s body will select a crop of these little eggs at the beginning of each menstrual cycle. These primitive eggs will start growing and out of this crop, only one will ovulate and the other eggs will grow to “half way” and “die off”.  The primitive eggs represent the woman’s potential for future ovulation and as ovulation is crucial for getting pregnant, the primitive eggs are indicative of one’s fertility potential.

What needs to be clarified is that AMH is a reflection of egg number and not egg QUALITY. Good egg quality is far more important to getting pregnant than egg numbers. Unfortunately, there is no simple test for egg quality to date. AMH is as close as we have to a measure of ovarian reserve.

Posted in: Common Queries Regarding Fertility