Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH) is a hormone secreted by the cells of the developing antral and pre-antral folliclesantral and pre-antral follicles (or egg sacks) in the ovaries. AMH is a strong indicator of a woman’s ovarian reserve (OR). As women age, the number of follicles gradually decline, and AMH levels decline with age as well. In essence, reproductive endocrinologists can assess how well a woman’s ovaries are functioning, by evaluating her AMH levels.
Low AMH. .06 to be exact. FINALLY ANSWERS!
In laymen’s terms having a low AMH means my eggs are shit. Well some of them. A normal women my age should have around 17 eggs just laying around in her ovarian reserve. This does not mean that you only have 17 eggs left, this is just your reserve and gives an idea of how your ovaries are working to produce eggs. The most I have ever had is 10 (until recently when I had 13, but I will go into that later). It also means that my egg quality is not as good/normal as it should be. So, although I might have eggs that look normal from the outside, inside, the quality is abnormal and won’t lead to a viable embryo once fertilized. Basically my 30 year old body is more like a body of a 45 year old. As women we are born with all the eggs we will ever have in our lifetime. As we get older our egg quality may decrease and we start running out of eggs, which leads to menopause. The only good news is that I will go into menopause early. Hallelujah because I hate periods.
So where does this leave me now? I guess we have two options:
Donor eggs. Our last clinic was really pushing for the use of donor eggs after our failed IVF cycle. At first I agreed and was on board. We really just want to start our family already. At least our baby would have half of us- aka hubs. I even went as far as to look at the donor website. Some of the girls were really pretty and smart. They all had nice things to say about why the were donating their eggs, “I really want to help someone start a family. The gift of life is the greatest gift I could give someone.” Please, you just need money and that’s ok haha! (If one of the girls would have written that, I would have chosen her). I was imagining what our baby would look like. It would be half hubs and half some random girl. Sounds like a Jerry Springer show. I realized I would never see my self in our child. She wouldn’t have my sky blue eyes. She wouldn’t have my bitchy personality. She wouldn’t be my husband and my creation, something I just couldn’t grasp. So we decided to get a second opinion. Boy am I glad we did…
Keep trying with my own eggs. Dr. Acacio is one of the best fertility doctors in Southern California. That was the one great thing that came out of our last clinic. A secret referral from a couple of women who worked for our last clinic to one of the best doctors in Southern California. (Now that tells you something). I never looked him up because his clinic is 1 1/2 hours from our home and I never thought of traveling. Worth it. The first thing he asked us when we sat down anxiously in his office was “Why would you be thinking about using donor eggs?” We explained our history and what our last clinic had told us, but Dr. A repeated, “You absolutely do not need to be looking at donor eggs yet.” Really? Who was this guy. I loved him already. We did our homework this time and we asked all the right questions. After a very eye opening appointment we sat convinced that us together, could still create a baby that was all our own. A little background: Dr. A came up with the protocol I was on at my old clinic 10 years ago. He sold it to them 10 years ago and has not used it since because it doesn’t work. Especially on someone with low AMH. 10 YEARS. Just that information alone told me that the clinic we had just come from was a blast from the past. Dr.A works with a lot of “challenging” cases and has high success rates of IVF in women with low AMH. He was the only doctor that ever wanted to know why. Why does a young woman like me have low AMH. This was important to me because it shows he cares and wants answers. I asked if it could be from using fertility drugs for so many years, but he seemed to think not. He has done several studies and has come to find that autoimmune disorders in women can lead to low AMH and unsuccessful IVF cycles. (An autoimmune disease is when your own body starts attacking itself. Affecting different organs or functions in the body). Mind blown. Diagnosis and treatment: there is a blood test that I will be taking to see if I have an autoimmune disease and whether or not I do have a disorder, I will be receiving intralipid treatments right before our transfer and when pregnant to ensure piece of mind.
I bet you can guess, but we decided to keep trying with my own eggs. God knows, you may have to fight a battle more than once to win. And other ladies who have low AMH, keep fighting, keep researching, keep believing. It is not a death sentence. IVF can still work, it may just be a longer more windy road.