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Hair test could revolutionise IVF

Monday July 6th 2020

A single hair might provide a test for women seeking information about their fertility, an on-line conference was set to hear today.

The hair test is likely to be an accurate way of helping women know whether they will respond to ovarian stimulation for in-vitro fertilisation, the annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology heard.

Researchers said they could measure levels of anti-Mullerian hormone in hair.

Levels of this hormone have not yet been correlated to live birth or time of menopause – but it is a key marker for IVF treatment, the researchers say.

The researchers, from Barcelona, Spain, say the hair test is less invasive and a "more appropriate" measure of hormone levels than a serum test.

The study involved 152 women and the hair tests were compared with the results of serum testing and ultrasound counts of ovarian follicles.

Guidelines on the use of AMH tests vary across the Atlantic. The European Society says they have "high accuracy" but US gynaecological advice says they should not be used as a basis for counselling women.

Researcher Sarthak Sawarkar said: "As hair offers a look at the long-term accumulation of hormones, this measurement may allow a better understanding of an individual's hormone levels - unlike blood-based assays, which can only measure the hormone at the moment of the testing."

"Hair is a medium that can accumulate biomarkers over several weeks, while serum is an acute matrix representing only current levels. While hormone levels in blood can fluctuate rapidly in response to stimuli, hormone levels measured in hair would represent an accumulation over several weeks.

"A measurement using a hair sample is more likely to reflect the average hormone levels in an individual."

Poster 616: Can we detect a biologically relevant quantity of Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) in human hair samples?

Tags: Childbirth and Pregnancy | Europe | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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