A popular fertility test designed to tell a woman how long she has left to fall pregnant is providing inaccurate and misleading results, creating a wave of panic among women in their 30s and 40s, Australia's leading fertility expert, Dr Anne Clarke, said.
Dr Clarke, medical director of Fertility First in Sydney, said a recent British study, plus anecdotal evidence, had found the simple blood test, known as the Egg Timer Test, was unreliable and becoming discredited worldwide. ''I have big concerns about its accuracy,'' she said. ''I'm seeing a lot of women turning up at my clinic in an incredibly distressed state and highly depressed because they've been told the test showed they had no chance of having a baby. It's wrong and misleading.''
Among them was a 40-year-old Sydney woman who was told by her GP in April last year that the test, which measures the level of anti-mullerian hormone (AMH) in the blood, showed her ovarian reserve was dangerously low. Further analysis revealed she was very fertile and well within the normal range, Dr Clarke said.
The Egg Timer Test - which costs about $70 - was pioneered by Adelaide clinic Repromed in 2004, to measure the number of eggs a woman had and predict how many child-bearing years she had left. With thousands of women rushing to take the test, other companies entered the market, but Dr Kelton Tremellen, of Repromed, said they were not always reliable. ''[If it's not done properly] one person's blood test can be analysed and get two vastly different results,'' he said. Results could be compromised, for example, if a woman had been on the pill. Dr Clarke added that inaccurate readings also occurred when the blood was stored incorrectly or the hormone not analysed immediately.
Article: 23rd November 2013 www.smh.com.au