AMH testing seems to be the new thing. It’s an indication of your egg reserve the best description I’ve found of what AMH measurements mean is at good old Wikipedia . It’s the kind of measurement that is only important if you get a low reading, otherwise it doesn’t really mean much. A low reading is referred to as premature ovarian failure or being peri menopausal, both I am sure you can agree are delightfully uplifting descriptions!
So what does a low reading mean? When I received mine, I was devastated, it was probably the straw that broke me on my infertility journey if I’m honest. My main piece of advice to anyone who says my AMH is low what does it mean? is don’t google, seriously don’t, it’s far too depressing if you have just received this news. Digest the news, realise that it means that you need to make some decisions on whether you are prepared to have IVF and then allow yourself to google! As ever the ladies on fertility friends are really the gurus on the subject, however it does make for fairly depressing reading on first skim and should only be attempted when in a reasonably positive frame of mind. What I have learnt is that it is an indication on how you are likely to respond to the drugs used during IVF, it does not in anyway indicate the quality of those eggs and so as long as you respond you have every chance of getting pregnant. It does not mean you are no longer ovulating and therefore yes it is still possible to get pregnant naturally. Yes it indicates that you are peri-menopausal but you can be that way for years and years so it does not mean you are about to go into menopausal melt down right now, as I “may” have started to imagine! Donor eggs may be suggested at every IVF appointment but they are not necessarily the only way to proceed.
Obviously even on reflection it’s not the best news in the whole trying to get pregnant scheme of things but I have to believe that it doesn’t mean there is no hope or else there is no point in keep trying. My periods are still regular, and not very light, I know I am still ovulating thanks to various scans and although I can convince myself I have menopause symptoms in the middle of the night in the cold light of day I really don’t. In fact if I hadn’t had the test I wouldn’t know, well I probably wouldn’t have responded very well to the ivf drugs as I probably would have been put on a lower dose of drugs at the start of the cycle which would have been more stressful as the dose would have had to have been upped half way through or the cycle may have been abandoned. I also have 1 ovary that seems to have packed up, therefore I kid myself that actually my AMH is higher than it shows on my working ovary, OK I don’t have the science to back that bit up but it works for me, and that is all that is important!
The other issue that the low AMH diagnosis flagged up is that I am so not ready to be a menopausal woman. To be honest it wasn’t something I had even thought about, I am a young looking late 30 year old, getting pregnant was on my mind not the menopause. It made me feel like a failure as a women, old, unattractive, useless and all sorts of other negative things. It also somehow made me feel like the end of my life was whistling towards me because you go through the menopause, then you are old and then you die or so I thought. It was a very dark time, luckily the clinic I had my test done at is run by a lovely calming man who declared it a set back and nothing more than that. He provided a plan to help me move forward, and I love a good plan! A mix of vitamins and dhea, a controversial supplement which I will blog about at some point. Gradually I learnt to tolerate my premature ovarian failure and while it stings and upsets me when friends say roll on the menopause when complaining about pmt or periods, I can now talk about it, admit it is happening and not cry. I also responded better to the ivf treatment than expected in that we had good fertilisation rates and good looking embryos, all of this helps me be positive. So if you have just had a low AMH diagnosis don’t give up, get fit, get healthy and join me in hoping that this month or this treatment cycle it won’t matter and we will get pregnant.