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Times of India
16 April 2010
By Kanchan Gogate

A simple blood test can tell how long a woman can postpone her pregnancy. Despite the facility being available in Pune, not many seem availing it. Labs leave it to doctors, who are not all for delaying it
Pic. for representational purposes onlyA Delicate Decision
You can’t eat the cake and still have it. Time comes where one has to choose between them and making a right choice is indeed a tall order. Today’s woman often faces a dilemma when it comes to choosing between career and motherhood. When career tops the priority list, pregnancy is often postponed. No wonder that in today’s age, delayed motherhood is becoming more of a norm. However, medical advancement has offered working women some succor.

Keeping a tab on a biological clock bas become easier now. A simple blood test can determine how long a ‘woman can postpone her pregnancy. According to doctors, the blood test to determine Anti–Mullerian Hormone (AMH) levels could just be the best indicator of a woman’s egg reserves. If a woman is above 30 and wants to postpone childbirth, doctors suggest that she can get the test done. If the score is low, the woman needs to rethink her decision and if it’s normal, she can postpone. The test is a big hit in Mumbai. Doctors should recommend it, feels Dr Hrishikesh Pai, head of the Mumbai Obstetrics and Gynecological Society. “I recommend it to women taking infertility treatment. There are many indicators to determine a woman’s fertility but AMH scores are more accurate and authentic. The test is highly reliable if you get it done at a reputed laboratory. It is not only useful for women taking infertility treatment but also for those who want delay pregnancy. However, AMH is not the only indicator. I wouldn’t recommend it in isolation but would recommend some other tests before drawing any conclusion,” adds Pai.

It is one of the many tests and not complete in itself, says Dr Mukta Umargai of Pune Obstetric and Gynecological Society. “I am not against it but 1 have not recommended it yet. The facility is available in Pune and even if it is not, samples could be sent to Mumbai Hence, conducting it is not the issue. However, the very need for postponing pregnancy is becoming a matter of concern these days. I don’t advocate delayed pregnancies. But there is no harm getting the test done. That AMH count is normal means one is fertile,” she says.

Infertility is on the rise due to lifestyle changes, says Dr Anand Shinde of Pune Obstetric and Gynecological Society. “Postponing pregnancy is not advisable. One has to choose between career and motherhood. Career can wait but childbirth has to be on time. I don’t deny that AMH test could be a good option. More delayed the pregnancy, more complications. If a woman is 32 and tells me she wants to postpone pregnancy, 1 will not advocate it. It’s already late. Why delay further? Late pregnancy is one of the reasons behind infertility and we should deal with it, society as a whole, Moreover, AMH test is 50 percent reliable and has to be done every year. It cannot be once and for all,” he says.

About AMH
Auto-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) test is a blood test that can be done any time of the month. It is done only at a few laboratories and is used to evaluate fertility potential and ovarian response in women undergoing infertility treatment. Its USP is that women, especially in their ’30s, can use it to monitor their biological clock. However, doctors who are not convinced about delayed pregnancy don’t generally recommend it. They advise patients not to be solely dependent on one test.
AMH basically decides the fertility count, says Dr Dilip Ghaisas, renowned gynecologist. “I don’t recommend the test to decide the biological clock. There are many tests and parameters. One test cannot be a foolproof evidence. Besides, there are other tests too,” he says.

Doctors shouldn’t take a moralist stance, Pai feels. “There is no denying the fact that pregnancy shouldn’t be delayed. But what do you do when careers are so much demanding today? One cannot blame today’s women for postponing it. If one wants to settle down before becoming a mother, it’s not wrong. Yet, consulting gynecologist is a must,” he adds.

Though the facility is available in Pune, not many seem availing it. “We have a well–equipped lab and can do AMH test. But not many doctors recommend it. Only doctors attached to big hospitals do. We don’t expect awareness among masses but it depends on doctors who should be aware of the latest methods,” says Nikhil Deshpande, who is attached to a lab on Karve Road.

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