If the results of a fertility test have got you stressed, don’t worry — it likely doesn’t say anything about your chances of getting pregnant, a new study found.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that fertility tests, which often use blood and urine samples to gauge the number of eggs a woman has, are hardly accurate in predicting the likelihood of someone conceiving a child.
For the study, researchers examined 750 women between the ages of 30 and 44 who had been trying to get pregnant for a three-month period between April 2008 and March 2016.
The women, who didn’t have a history of infertility, were tested for a variety of hormones, including antimüllerian hormone (AMH) and inhibin B, both of which decrease in a woman’s body as her number of eggs decreases, according to Today.
They were also given a pregnancy test and told to alert the researchers if they conceived a child.
It is largely believed that if a woman has a lower amount of AMH or inhibin B in her body, she will have a smaller chance of becoming pregnant. And some fertility tests have begun to test for those hormones as a way of indicating the chance of conception.
The new study’s findings, however, seem to suggest those hormones are far from accurate in determining a woman’s fertility.
Among women with a low AMH value, according to the study, there was an 84 percent “predicted cumulative probability” that she would conceive within “12 cycles of pregnancy attempt.” For women with a regular AMH level, it was a 75 percent probability.
That’s a “nonsignificant difference,” according to the study, suggesting that the hormones themselves aren’t enough to determine how many years left a woman has to get pregnant.
“Our findings challenge the clinical assumption that diminished ovarian reserve is a cause of infertility, but these findings are important for women,” Dr. Anne Steiner, the study’s lead author and a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, said to CNN. “Women are partnering and getting married later in life. They are aware of age-related decline in fertility. Women are seeking tests, outside of their age, that inform them about their fertility.”
Steiner added: “Age still remains the best predictor of a woman's reproductive potential.”
A better test for fertility would be examining if a woman ovulates each month, instead of figuring out the total number of eggs she has left, Dr. Richard Anderson, the head of gynecology and obstetrics at Britain’s University of Edinburgh, told Today.