Good news for women who want to plan their families late, as Hinduja Hospital here has introduced a new hormone test that can revolutionise family planning and fertility treatment in India.

The new test ‘Anti-Mullerian Hormone’ (AMH), popularly called as the “egg timer” is a simple, quick and inexpensive test that can measure a woman’s egg reserve.

“In other words, AMH can predict the number of fertile years left among women planning to delay pregnancies to as late as 30s or 40s,” Head of the department of RIA at Hinduja Hospital, Dr. Vipla Puri told PTI.

With the increasing number of young women having ovary dysfunction and irregular menstrual cycle and polycystic ovaries (which does not allow pregnancies set in), AMH test will be of great help in planning their families, she said.

“Studies have shown that natural fertility drops off at least 10 years before menopause, which means that with the variation in menopausal age of 40-60 years, some women can become infertile as early as their 30s. It will then be difficult to conceive without artificial insemination,” she said.

The new and simple blood test not costing more than Rs. 1500 and can be done in any clinic which has the facility of Elisa Reader, Puri said.

“Decline in AMH levels pinpoints to a critical juncture wherein women have so few follicles left in the ovary that her fertility becomes increasingly questionable. Women who want to have children but delay pregnancy will find it harder to conceive as they grow older because their ovarian reserve start dwindling with age,” she said.

“This technique could also provide an early warning to women set to have a premature menopause. At least 5 years prior to final menstrual period,” Puri said.

Many working women put off having children until they are well into their 30s and the number of over-35s having their first child doubled between 2001 and 2002 according to a study, she said

“This new test based on an ‘enzymatically amplified two site immunoassay’ will allow us to predict for a woman, aged between 25 and 50 that how fast her biological clock is ticking and whether or not a woman should be worried about her ticking biological clock”, Puri said.

The doctor also informed that this AMH can also be done on males whose testicles have not descended.

Undescended testicles are fairly common in premature infants. They occur in about 3 to 4 per cent of full-term infants. In most cases the testicles descend by the time the child is 9 months old.