image bio

We made too much! Get 50% off select items in our sale category while supplies last, use code OVERSTOCK. Shop Now.

Login / Sign Up up to see rewards balance

0 Item(s) in the shopping cart
Home > Learn > Getting Pregnant > >Does Birth Control Affect AMH Levels and Fertility?

Does Birth Control Affect AMH Levels and Fertility?

Jan 12, 24 5 min

Dr Gleaton breaks down what AMH is, and if hormonal birth control could be affecting your AMH level or ability to conceive. 

By OBGYN and fertility expert Dr. Kenosha Gleaton

If you’re actively trying to conceive or if you’re just looking ahead, you may be wondering what all you should be doing to prepare. If you’ve done any research on fertility testing and treatments, you might have seen anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) mentioned. AMH can give you some insight into your fertility but should be interpreted with caution. Your AMH level might even be skewed if you’re taking hormonal birth control pills. Let’s break down the basics.  

What Is AMH?

AMH is a hormone expressed by granulosa cells of the ovary during a woman’s reproductive years. A gradual increase in AMH levels is observed in girls from the first day of life, with maximum levels observed in women at around the age of 25. In adult women, AMH levels gradually decline as the primordial follicle pool declines with age, becoming undetectable at menopause.

AMH and Fertility

Research shows that AMH levels correlate with the number of oocytes (eggs) in the ovaries and can help predict ovarian response during fertility treatments. [1] While AMH has some association with predicting live birth rates during fertility treatment, it doesn’t define fertility and isn’t a conclusive predictor of the chances of conceiving naturally. [2] Read more about what your AMH levels can and can’t tell you.

The Effects of Birth Control

While no proven relationship exists between oral hormonal birth control and AMH levels, some studies suggest that oral contraceptives reduce AMH levels. [3] Discontinuing oral contraceptive use was also associated with a slight increase in AMH. 

Another study found users of hormonal contraceptives had a lower mean AMH level compared to those not on hormonal contraceptives. [4] However, this level seems to be temporary as researchers found AMH levels to be reversible after stopping oral birth control. 

The main takeaway: if you’ve checked your AMH level while on hormonal birth control, your level may have been falsely low. 

What Happens to Your Eggs When You’re on Birth Control?

The purpose of hormonal birth control is to prevent ovulation through estrogen and/or progestin. When you are on birth control, an egg is not released from the ovary and is technically “saved”. This doesn’t mean that being on birth control can drastically change your ovarian reserve. Keep in mind the average woman has around 35,000 eggs by age 30, so even 10 years of birth control only “saves” 120 eggs (or 0.4%). Plus, egg quality is as important (if not more important) to your chances of having a baby.    

Can Birth Control Affect Fertility?

No! Birth control doesn’t impact fertility in the long term. A prospective study of 8,500 pregnancies found that 85% of women who never used birth control got pregnant within a year of trying, compared to 89% of women who had used birth control for more than five years. [5] The authors concluded that prolonged use of oral contraception was associated with slightly improved fertility.

AMH Levels Over Time

In general, a typical AMH level for a woman of reproductive age is 1.0–4.0 ng/ml. 

One study looked at the median AMH levels (ng/mL) in 2,741 women and found [6]:

  • Under 25 = 5.13
  • 25 = 5.42
  • 26 = 4.91
  • 27 = 4.12
  • 28 = 4.96
  • 29 = 3.87
  • 30 = 3.53
  • 31 = 3.59
  • 32 = 3.44
  • 33 = 2.70
  • 34 = 2.49
  • 35 = 2.58
  • 36 = 2.28
  • 37 - 1.85
  • 38 = 1.66
  • 39 = 1.72
  • 40 = 1.27
  • 41 = 1.26
  • 42 = 1.20
  • 43 = 0.81
  • >43 = 0.72

While there are no definitively proven ways to increase your AMH levels, there are ways to increase your chances of getting pregnant.

Can You Take an AMH Test While on Birth Control?

Yes, but because studies have shown that birth control may impact your results, you want to consider this when interpreting your results. If you are looking for a full picture of your ovarian health, you should get a fertility workup with your OBGYN or an REI (reproductive endocrinologist). They will know how the specific birth control you are on may impact your AMH results, and can give you additional insights from other biomarkers including day 3 FSH, day 3 estradiol, antral follicle count, and more. 

Where Can I Have My AMH Tested?

You can buy an AMH test online, but if you want the best possible understanding of your fertility, your OBGYN or REI can order an AMH test as part of a larger fertility workup. 

Maintaining Healthy Levels

AMH testing is just one way of determining how many eggs are in your ovaries. If you’re on oral hormonal birth control, your fertility won’t be affected, but your AMH levels might. If you’ve checked your AMH before while on birth control and felt the number was pretty low, you should try checking again after getting off birth control. But remember, your AMH level is not predictive of your chances of conceiving naturally — and certainly does not define your fertility! Learn more about your hormones from home with a women's fertility test, or shop fertility-friendly nutritional supplements, like our women's prenatal vitamin. 

 

References:

  1. Broekmans FJ, Kwee J, Hendriks DJ, Mol BW, Lambalk CB. A systematic review of tests predicting ovarian reserve and IVF outcome. Hum Reprod Update. 2006;12(6):685-718. doi:10.1093/humupd/dml034
  2. Iliodromiti S, Kelsey TW, Wu O, Anderson RA, Nelson SM. The predictive accuracy of anti-Müllerian hormone for live birth after assisted conception: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature. Hum Reprod Update. 2014;20(4):560-570. doi:10.1093/humupd/dmu003
  3. Kruszyńska A, Słowińska-Srzednicka J. Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) as a good predictor of time of menopause. Prz Menopauzalny. 2017;16(2):47-50. doi:10.5114/pm.2017.68591
  4. Bernardi LA, Weiss MS, Waldo A, et al. Duration, recency, and type of hormonal contraceptive use and antimüllerian hormone levels. Fertil Steril. 2021;116(1):208-217. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2021.02.007
  5. Alexandra Farrow, M.G.R. Hull, K. Northstone, H. Taylor, W.C.L. Ford, Jean Golding, Prolonged use of oral contraception before a planned pregnancy is associated with a decreased risk of delayed conception, Human Reproduction, Volume 17, Issue 10, October 2002, Pages 2754–2761.
  6. Shebl O, Ebner T, Sir A, et al. Age-related distribution of basal serum AMH level in women of reproductive age and a presumably healthy cohort. Fertil Steril. 2011;95(2):832-834. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2010.09.012

 

Originally published 09/14/2021. Updated for accuracy and relevancy on 01/12/2024

Dr. Kenosha Gleaton is board-certified in gynecology and obstetrics and is the Medical Advisor of Natalist. She received her MD from MUSC and completed her residency at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC.

Dr. Gleaton is passionate about women, health equity, and mentoring. She is the CEO of The EpiCentre, an OBGYN spa-like practice, and is a Clinical faculty member of Charleston Southern University. She is also a member of the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology, the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists, and the American Association of Professional Women 

Shop Products

Bestseller
sticker bestseller

Prenatal Daily Packets

Vegan prenatal daily packets

$60

Natalist Favorite
Subscribe & Save $2.00 sticker favorite

The Lube

Bestselling fertility-friendly lubricant

$23

Bestseller
sticker bestseller

Prenatal Gummies

Evidence-backed & delicious prenatal gummies

$35

Bestseller
sticker bestseller

Early Pregnancy Test Strips

As low as $0.96 per test strip

$74 $16

Bestseller
sticker bestseller

Early Pregnancy Test Strips

As low as $0.96 per test strip

$74 $16

Bestseller
sticker save

The Test Strip Pack

Bundle & save with our earth-friendlier test strips

$37

Natalist Favorite
sticker favorite

Ovulation Test Kit

50% off with code OVERSTOCK

$25

sticker bestseller

Pregnancy Tests (4-Count)

As low as $3.20 per test

$16

sticker save

Cycle Support Bundle

Bundle & save on cycle regularity support‡

$85 $75

Natalist Favorite
sticker favorite

TTC Gummy Bundle

Prenatal gummies for TTC (trying to conceive)

$100 $90

Bestseller
sticker save

The Test Strip Pack

Bundle & save with our earth-friendlier test strips

$37

sticker save

Pregnancy Gift Basket

Gift set for a mom-to-be

$110 $99