Reliability of home fertility tests questioned

January 1, 2011

Results of a small study suggest that clinicians caution their patients of reproductive age that home fertility tests are unreliable indcators of fertility.

Results of a small study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine suggest that clinicians caution their patients of reproductive age that home fertility tests are unreliable indicators of fertility. Researchers concluded that such tests, which are designed to react to the level of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) in urine, often mislabel fertile women as infertile.

The study involved 100 women older than age 30 years who were trying to conceive. By analyzing the levels of FSH that were classified as abnormal by the tests, members of the research team found that the test results did not always correlate with a reduced likelihood of the woman becoming pregnant.

They also found that another hormone-antimullerian hormone (AMH)-was a better determinant of fertility than FSH. Unfortunately, the only current means of measuring AMH is with a blood test.

Study raises concerns about ability of tests to predict fertility [news release]. Chapel Hill, North Carolina. University of North Carolina School of Medicine Office of Public Affairs and Marketing; October 26, 2010. http://www.med.unc.edu/www/news/2010/october/study-raises-concern-about-ability-of-tests-to-predict-fertility/. Accessed December 15, 2010.