Fertility test helps women plan their pregnancy
Diagnostic test helps women understand fertility levels. Malaysia’s national fertility rate has dropped to an all-time low. This was one of the findings of the 2017 Vital Statistics Report by the Department of Statistics (DOSM).
Dr. Eeson Sinthamoney, President-Elect of the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Society Malaysia (OGSM), said: “It is widely believed by the professional community that the infertility rate has also increased. Women are born with around two million eggs, and these continue to decrease throughout their lives. Using the AMH test acts as a measure of how many eggs they have left and therefore how many fertile years remain for them, their doctor can then advise them on how to best plan parenthood.”
“Over the past five years, I have seen more and more women in their early 30s come to me to find out about how they can plan ahead, so that if they decide to delay parenthood, their chances are not diminished. Whatever the reason for the delay, they may still want to experience motherhood, and the AMH test helps them match their career and parenthood goals,” Dr Eeson added.
According to Dr. Eeson, 10% of women in their early 30’s have significantly reduced fertility.
“Assume you meet a group of 10 women,” Dr. Eeson explained. “Statistically, out of these 10 women, 1 of them is unlikely to be able to conceive, due to seriously reduced ovarian reserve. If you as a woman are concerned about whether you fall into this category, an AMH test would help you gain an understanding of this.”
An AMH test is a simple blood test which indicates a woman’s fertility. Blood levels of the Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH) are used as a marker of a woman’s ovarian reserves (remaining supply of eggs available for fertilisation) – an important consideration for women who are either planning for pregnancy or struggling with infertility.
Currently, around 50 million couples are affected by infertility, and around 15 percent of women of reproductive age face fertility issues. Prior to the introduction of AMH testing, the most conventional female fertility test involved an invasive trans-vaginal ultrasound procedure. The AMH test is far more convenient by comparison, cutting out both discomfort, waiting time and confusion, as women can request a test from their physician at any time.
Another function of AMH testing is to predict a woman’s response to ovarian stimulation – a procedure to induce ovulation multiple ovarian follicles – a first step towards personalised infertility management such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF). Testing blood levels of AMH before initiating IVF is a useful indicator of ovarian reserve and a woman’s potential response to IVF treatment. If AMH levels are within the normal range, the ovaries are likely to react more positively to stimulating drugs and more eggs are likely to be retrieved, often resulting in a higher IVF success rate.
Chai Yin Heng, General Manager of Roche Diagnostics Malaysia, said: “Planning for pregnancy and parenthood can be a stressful and emotional time. The AMH test can assist women in answering deeply personal questions about their fertility in a private and measured manner, with careful guidance and support from the specialist doctor. This guidance and support will help women make informed decisions and take proactive measures. The AMH test is an important example of our focus on improving diagnostics in the area of women’s health – delivering medical value to both physicians and patients.”
About the anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH)
In women, the anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) is exclusively produced by cells in the ovarian follicles. AMH concentrations slowly decrease with increasing age until becoming undetectable around five years before menopause, when the stock of these follicles is exhausted. However, the pace at which these follicles deplete varies greatly from person to person, reflected by a wide range of age at which a person hits menopause.
Roche is a global pioneer in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics focused on advancing science to improve people’s lives. The combined strengths of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics under one roof have made Roche the leader in personalised healthcare – a strategy that aims to fit the right treatment to each patient in the best way possible.
Roche is the world’s largest biotech company, with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology and diseases of the central nervous system. Roche is also the world leader in in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and a frontrunner in diabetes management.
Founded in 1896, Roche continues to search for better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases and make a sustainable contribution to society. The company also aims to improve patient access to medical innovations by working with all relevant stakeholders. Thirty medicines developed by Roche are included in the World Health Organization Model Lists of Essential Medicines, among them life-saving antibiotics, antimalarials and cancer medicines. Roche has been recognised as the Group Leader in sustainability within the Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology & Life Sciences Industry nine years in a row by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI).
The Roche Group, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, is active in over 100 countries and in 2017 employed about 94,000 people worldwide. In 2017, Roche invested CHF 10.4 billion in R&D and posted sales of CHF 53.3 billion. Genentech, in the United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group.
Roche is the majority shareholder in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information, please visit www.roche.com
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