In a recent study, multiple misleading claims were found on websites selling direct-to-consumer Anti-Mullerian hormone tests.
According to a recent study published in JAMA Network Open, direct-to-consumer (DTC) Anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) testing often contains false and misleading claims, potentially causing consumers to purchase an AMH test based on false beliefs.
An increase has been observed in the average age of mothers at first birth in high-income countries, leading to an increased risk of involuntary childlessness because of female fertility decreasing with age. Attention has risen around the AMH test, which has proven useful for fertility treatment by measuring the number of eggs that can be retrieved in a cycle for freezing.
The AMH test cannot reliably measure fertility, but DTC AMH testing has allowed more individuals to receive the test without consultation from a health care provider. Alongside limitations of the AMH test, significant limitations in providing information have been reported, with many false claims about the test’s utility having been provided.
To evaluate information available on the AMH test, investigators conducted a content analysis of texts on websites selling DTC AMH tests. Eligibility criteria included being an English language website located in a country where AMH tests can be purchased directly. Exclusion criteria included providing information on the AMH test but not providing it and offering fertility testing but not the AMH test specifically.
Search strings to identify eligible websites included AMH test online, where can I order an AMH test online, ovarian reserve test online, and buy test of my reproductive timeline online.The top 50 results of each search were compiled into a spreadsheet. Data search and extraction occurred in March 2022.
There were 27 websites included in the final analysis, 33% of which were from the United States, 22% from India, 15% from the United Kingdom, 11% from Australia, 7% from Canada, 7% from Ireland, and 4% from the Netherlands. AMH test alone was offered by 85% of websites, while 15% tested multiple hormones. Test costs ranged from US $16 to $214.
AMH test information was organized based on description of the test, statements about what the test can do, stated possible actions based on test results, collection method, promotional tactics, and statements about the test’s limitations. Of websites, 93% contained brief information about the test and 96% discussed what the test can do.
Mentioning that the test can assess ovarian reserve was reported by 96% of websites, confirm polycystic ovary syndrome by 96%, estimate fertility by 74%, indicate diminished ovarian reserve by 41%, detect tumors or examine ovarian cancer treatment by 37%, and help find a reason for lack of menstruation by 19%.
Future steps consumers could take were discussed by 48% of websites. Steps include being active about reproductive timeline from 41% of websites, determining if egg freezing isviable by 30%, and addressing red flags about fertility by 19%.
Statements on how the test could be collected were discussed by 96% of websites. Promotional tactics were seen in 93%. These included mentioning the ease of the test from 89% of websites and statements on who the test is feasible for by 37%. Limitations of the test were discussed by 70% of websites.
Overall, many misleading claims about the AMH test were found on websites which sold DTC AMH tests. Investigators warned that this could lead consumers to purchase the test with a false belief that it can predict fertility potential or age of menopause.
Johnson A, Thompson R, Nickel B, Shih P, Hammarberg K, Copp T. Websites Selling Direct-to-Consumer Anti-Mullerian Hormone Tests. JAMA Netw Open. 2023;6(8):e2330192. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.30192