Despite a completely new study in which shows some fertility tests do not accurately predict a woman’s chances of getting pregnant in her thirties as well as also also forties, a handful of businesses say they will keep selling the tests.
The study cast doubt on increasingly favorite tests in which are sold by startups as well as also also fertility clinics on the premise in which certain hormonal levels can reveal a woman’s “ovarian reserve,” or the number of eggs remaining in her ovaries. These tests, which are one part of the burgeoning fertility-testing market, appeal to women anxious about their diminishing chances of getting pregnant.
however three businesses in which sell the type of test scrutinized by the study, including two San Francisco startups as well as also also one of the most well-known fertility clinics inside the US, told BuzzFeed News when contacted in which their tests can still be helpful for many women.
One of them is actually Future Family, which was cofounded by a former SolarCity executive as well as also also launched This kind of summer. the item sells a $149 “Fertility Age Test” in which the item says “will give you insight into your current as well as also also future fertility.” Modern Fertility, which just graduated coming from the Silicon Valley startup incubator Y Combinator, is actually taking preorders for a similar test in which’s also $149. Its female founders bill the item as “the first comprehensive fertility test you can take at home–to give women the context we wished we had ourselves.” as well as also also Shady Grove Fertility Clinic, a network of East Coast clinics, promises in which its ovarian reserve test, which costs $325 without full or partial insurance, means “no more guessing.”
The study, published This kind of week inside the scientific journal JAMA, followed 750 women between ages 30 as well as also also 44 for up to a year. They didn’t have a history of infertility, as well as also also had been trying to conceive for three months or less. Researchers analyzed their blood as well as also also urine for hormones commonly used to measure ovarian reserve — AMH, FSH, as well as also also inhibin B — as well as also also followed the women for up to a year. Women who had biomarkers in which indicated diminished ovarian reserve weren’t less likely to conceive, the researchers found, compared to those with normal-seeming biomarkers.
“These tests are a great measures of ovarian reserve, how many eggs you have, however they don’t work to predict a woman’s reproductive potential,” Anne Zweifel Steiner, an author of the study as well as also also professor of obstetrics as well as also also gynecology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, told Vox.
This kind of isn’t the only study to question the accuracy of these tests. A 2015 paper also found in which AMH levels didn’t correlate with predicting fertility.
Still, companies contacted by BuzzFeed News defended their tests in which screen for AMH as well as also also FSH, as well as also also confirmed in which they would likely keep selling them. They also pointed out in which the tests take into account different factors, including age, to give women an understanding of their fertility.
Eric Widra, Shady Grove’s medical director, noted in which the JAMA paper studied women without a history of infertility. the item also did not address IVF. however “decades of research have demonstrated in which ovarian reserve is actually the best predictor, different than age, for treatment outcomes IN PATIENTS WITH INFERTILITY,” he wrote to BuzzFeed News. Shady Grove provides services like in vitro fertilization as well as also also embryo-freezing to women as well as also also couples who have trouble conceiving naturally.
Asked for research in which supported its ovarian reserve test, a Shady Grove doctor, through a spokesperson, cited a 2010 study in which found in which the FSH hormone was one of several factors in which predicted if a woman could get pregnant after doing IVF. The doctor also cited a study coming from more than a decade ago in which found in which ovarian reserve tests had a “modest-to-poor” ability to predict whether women could get pregnant in IVF, as well as also also “are therefore far coming from suitable for relevant clinical use.”
The San Francisco startups in which sell ovarian reserve tests say their tests aren’t necessarily just for women struggling to conceive; instead, they’re meant for women who want a general picture of their fertility over time as well as also also aren’t necessarily trying to start a family right away.
“We’re reviewing This kind of completely new study with our clinical advisors as well as also also trying to access the raw data in order to further analyze the findings,” Afton Vechery, cofounder of Modern Fertility, said over email. “The vast majority of research inside the field has repeatedly shown in which these biomarkers provide a better picture of future fertility than just a woman’s age.”
Vechery pointed to a 2008 study in which examined a much smaller group of women — 50 — than the one inside the JAMA study. the item looked at their biomarkers before they stopped having their periods, also known as menopause, as well as also also during their transition into menopause. The study found in which low levels of the AMH hormone, as well as also also to a lesser extent higher FSH levels, predicted when they would likely stop menstruating. The study didn’t explicitly look at whether their hormonal levels were linked to whether they got pregnant.
Lynn Westphal, Future Family’s medical adviser, said in which she agrees with the study’s findings in which certain hormones aren’t an absolute predictor of a woman’s ability to get pregnant. Many factors determine in which, she pointed out, including age. however she said in which the Fertility Age Test can still provide useful information to women about their bodies, especially for those who aren’t thinking about getting pregnant yet.
the item “will help women approach potential future fertility issues with those results in mind — instead of waiting to determine those levels once a woman is actually already struggling to get pregnant naturally or with fertility treatments,” she said in a statement.
Stephanie Lee is actually a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News as well as also also is actually based in San Francisco.
Contact Stephanie M. Lee at [email protected]
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