Pre and postmarital counselling are essential for couples. Though the couple may think that counselling is unnecessary, the outcome could make them feel otherwise. Counselling is a good way to resolve all your relationship issues along with planning your timeline of steps towards starting a family. Yes, you have heard it right. Chalking out a roadmap for when to plan a child is helpful, and it is easier than you think. Two very simple tests can help you plan your parenthood and that is a blood AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone) level in women and semen analysis in men.
In women, egg reserves decline with age, which is known as their biological clock. AMH testing is a way for couples to get a sense of the reproductive span, thus helping in smart planning of conception.
AMH Test is a test that is an indicator of a woman's ovarian reserve. The level of AMH gives insights into the remaining quantity of eggs and where a woman stands on her fertility graph. AMH testing involves a simple blood test that can be done at any time of the month, as the levels of AMH do not change with the menstrual cycle. In fact, it can be done even if you are using oral contraceptives. If you get your AMH levels tested at a younger age, you will have a better idea of your reproductive health.
Many couples seek premarital counselling to test their compatibility. For couples today, fertility parameters are as important as emotional factors before tying the knot. Considering we now live in a society where late marriages are a norm, which ultimately translates into a delay in starting a family, certain tests can help in providing information on the reproductive years left for the couple. Increasing age, means a decrease in ovarian reserve, which can prove to be a roadblock in attaining motherhood.
Understanding your AMH levels can help to assess your ovarian egg reserve and therefore your fertility. However, we know fertility declines as we age so it's important that women understand their fertility and what the current tests and treatments can and can't do for them. It can also help couples decide if they want to put their embryos on ice while they pursue other achievements on their timelines. It can guide women who do not have a steady partner or are not married to decide to freeze their eggs, thereby freezing their fertility in time. When they do find a partner, they can use their frozen eggs and plan a pregnancy, thus breaking free of the deleterious effects of ageing on reproductive outcomes.
Also read: Busted: 13 Myths Around Conceiving A Baby
AMH can be done at any time in the menstrual cycle, as your AMH levels are stable throughout the cycle. It is a marker for ovarian (egg) reserve and is assessed via an AMH blood test. It is imperative to understand that AMH is just an indicator of a woman's fertility and does not guarantee pregnancy. Women opting for AMH testing should consult with her fertility expert or gynaecologist to discuss the way forward.
While AMH does not guarantee pregnancy in the future, however, it does make a woman more educated about her fertility. If your AMH levels are low and do not meet the mentioned criteria, then you need to speak to your doctor and act accordingly.
About the author: Dr. Ritu Hinduja is fertility consultant, who is currently with Nova IVF Fertility Mumbai and was earlier a fertility specialist and research coordinator at Rotunda CHR (Bandra, Mumbai). With a Masters in Reproductive Medicine from UK's Homerton University Hospital Foundation Trust in London, her expertise lies in all the techniques of assisted reproduction. She has keen interest in the area of fertility preservation for cancer patients and also for women planning to delay child bearing. She believes in helping women with poor ovarian reserve to conceive using their own eggs whenever possible.
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