What is High FSH?
FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) is a hormone released by the pituitary gland. FSH stimulates the growth of follicles and has a role in the maturation of oocytes. The measurement of FSH levels in the blood is one of the most widely used tests to assess a woman's ovarian function and is typically taken on day 2 or 3 of a woman's menstrual cycle. If a woman's FSH levels are above what is expected for her age, then she is considered to have "High FSH".
Why Are FSH Levels So Important?
For decades, FSH has been a key diagnostic tool in assessing how well a woman's ovaries are still functioning.
A couple is given the diagnosis of unexplained infertility when they suffer from infertility, and undergo a diagnostic workup that fail to reveal a credible underlying cause for their condition. In other words, the diagnosis of UI is reached by default; it is a negative diagnosis, suggesting that a clinical problem exists somewhere but the likely cause for this problem has remained elusive.
High FSH and Infertility
Given FSH's role in maturing eggs, you might think that high FSH is a good thing. This, however, is not the case. High FSH, also known as elevated FSH, indicates low ovarian reserve, and women with high FSH have significantly lower pregnancy chances with In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) than women with normal FSH levels.
It is important to remember that FSH levels naturally increase, and AMHAMH levels as well as AFCs AFCs decline as women age. This means that what should be considered a normal range for all of these measurements changes with age. This is often forgotten, even by fertility specialists. At CHR we, however, utilize age-specific FSH levels to determine whether a woman's ovarian reserve is normal or not. Since CHR investigators first reported the use of such age-specific values, their utilization has significantly picked up worldwide.
Last Updated: November 15, 2014