Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH)
Treatment for Low AMH: DHEA Supplementation & Tailored IVF Protocols
Many fertility centers don't use age-specific hormone levels during ovarian reserve testing. Because a woman’s normal AMH and FSH levels change as she gets older, using a universal cut-off value to define low ovarian reserve may miss some younger women with beginning stages of premature ovarian aging (POA, premature loss of ovarian reserve). This can lead to critical delays in treatment and inappropriate ovarian stimulation protocols.
CHR has defined age-specific baselines for AMH and FSH levels to more accurately assess a woman’s ovarian reserve status. The figure illustrates the age-related decline in AMH levels, with the purple shaded area representing the normal ovarian reserve for each age.
This way, we are able to design IVF protocols according to each woman’s ovarian reserve status, not just based on her age. We strongly encourage women who are thus diagnosed with low AMH to not delay fertility treatment because AMH and ovarian reserve continue to decline with age.
AMH and IVF Success Rates
Many fertility centers still do not offer fertility treatments to women whose AMH falls below the universal cut-off levels (or whose FSH is above the cut-off). This approach helps centers keep their published IVF success rates high, because women with lower pregnancy chances are excluded. However, it obviously leaves women with low AMH and/or high FSH levels with no opportunity for treatment with their own eggs, rightly feeling abandoned.
CHR has no arbitrary cut-off values. We work with each patient to explore the best treatment options for their clinical circumstances and preferences. In fact, when we use the appropriate ovarian stimulation protocol and address other factors involved in a low AMH patient’s infertility, we have found that the IVF pregnancy rates can be much higher than what they were told by other fertility centers.
DHEA Supplementation with Low AMH Levels
Women with low AMH typically benefit the most from well-managed IVF protocols. Treatment plans for women with low AMH at CHR most likely involve DHEADHEA supplementation, which has been shown to be effective in improving IVF pregnancy rates in women with low AMH.
Published CHR studies over the last 8 to 9 years have shown significant improvements in AMH levels after DHEA supplementation. Women younger than 38 saw a bigger improvement in AMH concentrations after DHEA treatment, compared to older women. Improvements in AMH levels after DHEA supplementation were found to be one of the most reliable prognosticators for a successful pregnancy with IVF.
With the introduction of DHEA supplementation and research-driven treatment plans modified to best suit individual patients, CHR doctors have become world-renowned experts in diminished ovarian reserve treatmentand diagnosis. “Diminished ovarian reserve” is an umbrella term that encompasses both premature ovarian aging (POA) and natural, age-related loss of ovarian reserve.
We serve many patients from all over the world who seek out CHR’s expertise in treating women with low AMH levels. While, unfortunately, not everyone becomes pregnant with their own eggs, we are happy to say that our clinical pregnancy rates are quite respectable considering that most of CHR’s patients came to us after being rejected by another center because their chances of pregnancy were considered “too low.”
"AMH levels are a strong indicator of ovarian reserve. Even women with low (or undetectable) AMH may still have a good chance of pregnancy at CHR."Dr. Norbert Gleicher
IVF with low AMH Levels
The probability of success with an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle largely depends on a woman's ovarian reserve and her ability to produce a large number of high-quality eggs in a cycle. Low AMH, as well as abnormally high FSH levels, suggests a compromised ability of the ovaries to produce a good number of high-quality eggs, denoting a relatively poor fertility prognosis and low probability of success with IVF.
Very low AMH, usually considered AMH below 1.05 ng/ml, has been associated with extremely low pregnancy chances and many IVF centers flat out deny treatment to women with such low levels of AMH. However, recent CHR research, published in the journal Human Reproduction, suggests that even women with undetectably low AMH levels (below 0.16 ng/ml) can still conceive and successfully carry pregnancies to term, if given proper treatment involving DHEA supplementation along with well-designed ovarian stimulation protocols.
Norbert Gleicher, MD, leads CHR’s clinical and research efforts as Medical Director and Chief Scientist. A world-renowned reproductive endocrinologist, Dr. Gleicher has published hundreds of peer-reviewed papers and lectured globally while keeping an active clinical career focused on ovarian aging, immunological issues and other difficult cases of infertility.
Last Updated: October 8, 2018