There are so many factors that go into the TTC journey. From timing and tracking to hormones and testing — it can all get pretty confusing! Hormones play a huge role in fertility, but can be tricky to understand. Which hormones are important? How do they actually affect fertility? And how can you test them? Let’s break down hormone health.
In order to conceive easily and successfully, it’s important for various hormone levels to be balanced. When hormone levels are unbalanced, issues with fertility issues can occur. There are many hormones that contribute to our health, but the following hormones can specifically impact your TTC journey.
Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) is a hormone produced by egg follicles in the ovaries. With age, the number of eggs and therefore the level of AMH decreases. The level of AMH in the blood can provide some insight into the number of eggs and the number of fertile years you may have. Additionally, AMH can also be used to diagnose PCOS because people with PCOS often have elevated AMH levels.
Testing your AMH levels can give you a clearer picture of your fertility, all you need is a simple blood test. Labcorp OnDemand’s Ovarian Reserve test can measure your AMH and other hormone levels so that you can better plan your TTC journey. However, keep in mind that while checking your AMH can provide some helpful information and predict response to medications used for IVF, it is not always a good predictor of success and it does not tell us anything about egg quality. For example, someone with a high AMH may have lots of follicles, but have other issues like PCOS and poor egg quality making it difficult to conceive, while someone with a low AMH may have few follicles, but still have good egg quality.
Follicle Stimulating Hormones (FSH) help control the menstrual cycle, stimulate egg growth in the ovaries, and tell the body when to release an egg during the menstrual cycle. FSH levels change throughout the menstrual cycle, with the highest levels happening just before ovulation. Both too high and too low levels of FSH can contribute to menstrual and fertility issues because the hormone regulates ovarian function. Testing your FSH levels — specifically around the third day of your period — can help you better understand your fertility. The timing of testing around day 3 (the recommended range is from day 2-4) is very important because depending on where you are in your cycle, normal ranges can vary quite a bit. Plus, its necessary to get an accurate baseline and obtain useful information on how hard your brain is having to work to stimulate your ovaries to produce a mature egg. Unlike FSH, AMH testing is not time-sensitive and can be done at any point in your cycle to assess ovarian reserve.
Estradiol is a key player in the development of the female reproductive system, including the uterus, vagina, and fallopian tubes. Estradiol is one of four types of estrogen and is the most prominent form produced by the ovaries during your reproductive years. The highest levels of estradiol are present during female reproductive years and after reaching menopause, these levels decline.
Estradiol regulates the female reproductive cycle, and having either abnormally high or low levels can lead to fertility issues. Your estradiol levels can be assessed with a simple blood test like the Ovarian Reserve Test from Labcorp OnDemand.
Knowledge is power
When it comes to TTC, knowledge is power. To gain a clearer picture of your overall fertility health, consider an Ovarian Reserve Test from Labcorp OnDemand. This simple blood test will measure your FSH, AMH, and estradiol levels and can help diagnose common fertility issues like PCOS.
Purchasing an Ovarian Reserve test through Labcorp OnDemand is as easy as tapping ‘add to cart’. You can choose the test through their website — no doctor’s visit required! Once you receive your test, on the third day of your menstrual period take the requisition number you’ve been sent plus photo ID and head over to a Labcorp patient service center to have your blood sample collected. After the test has been completed, you can view your results online from the comfort of your home!
“Anti-Mullerian Hormone Test” Cleveland Clinic. Cleveland Clinic. April 7, 2022. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diagnostics/22681-anti-mullerian-hormone-test.
“Estrogen” Cleveland Clinic. Cleveland Clinic. February 8, 2022. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/22353-estrogen
“What is a FSH test?” WebMD. WebMD. April 26, 2021. https://www.webmd.com/women/fsh-test
“Estradiol” University of Rochester Medical Center. University of Rochester Medical Center. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=167&ContentID=estradiol