When you are expecting a baby, anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) is essential in their development. This hormone assists in a male fetus’ reproductive development. Prior to birth, AMH is made in the fetus’ testes and ovaries.
Around eight weeks after conception, a fetus has both Müllerian (female) and Wollfian (male) ducts, which can develop into the male or female reproductive system. If the fetus has XY (male) chromosomes, the testes will produce AMH and the Müllerian ducts will disappear. Then, testosterone produced in the testes will promote the development of the male reproductive system. If a fetus has XX (female) chromosomes, a lack of testosterone will cause the Wollfian duct to vanish and the Müllerian duct will develop into the female reproductive system.
AMH also has role in puberty and in adult ovaries and testes. Within the ovaries, it helps in the early development of follicles. Follicles hold and support eggs before fertilization. A high number of ovarian follicles means the ovaries can produce larger amounts of AMH. AMH levels can be measured to determine how many follicles a woman has in her ovaries.
If a male fetus doesn’t make enough AMH, the Müllerian duct doesn’t disappear, which can lead to abnormal development of the reproductive system. Patients may be diagnosed with persistent Müllerian duct syndrome. This is a rare condition, but symptoms include having low or no sperm count.
In women, AMH is produced in adulthood. Measuring AMH levels is a good way to determine a woman’s remaining egg supply. AMH levels are also used to determine the hormone doses given during in vitro fertilization. For most women, AMH levels are at its highest during puberty and remain at a consistent level until menopause. When there are no more ovarian follicles, levels of AMH decrease.
Low levels of AMH may be related to primary ovarian insufficiency (POI). High levels of the hormone may be due to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). However, measuring AMH levels alone isn’t sufficient to make a clear diagnosis for POI or PCOS.
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