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Division of Medical Screening and Special Testing
Women & Infants Hospital
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Providence, RI 02903
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What is ovarian reserve?

Ovarian reserve is an estimate of the supply of primary follicles remaining in the ovary. Ovarian reserve diminishes with a woman's age, making it more difficult to get pregnant.

Why is it helpful to test for ovarian reserve?

Assisted reproductive technologies involve an emotional and financial investment. It is helpful for patients deciding whether to participate in assisted reproductive technologies to better estimate their probability of success. Tests for ovarian reserve provide some information regarding how likely it is that a woman's ovaries will produce multiple follicles after hormone stimulation, which in turn is associated with the likelihood of having a baby.

Why is inhibin B measurement a good test of ovarian reserve?

Inhibin B is a normal product of developing ovarian follicles. The amount of inhibin B measured in serum during the start of a new menstrual cycle is directly related to the number and health of small growing follicles.

What does the inhibin B test result tell me about my chances of getting pregnant?

Inhibin B levels are low in women with diminished ovarian reserve. If your inhibin B level is below or at the low end of the normal menstrual cycle range, you have a lower chance of responding well to ovarian stimulation in assisted reproductive technology protocols than someone with a higher inhibin B level. A poor response means that your ovary will produce relatively few oocytes (eggs) after hormone stimulation and therefore you will have fewer embryos after fertilization and a lower chance of getting pregnant.

Is the inhibin B result helpful even if I have a follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) test?

Yes. Serum FSH is an indirect measure of ovarian reserve. Several publications have shown that a combination of FSH and inhibin B measurement can better predict ovarian response and pregnancy outcome than FSH alone.

How do I get an inhibin B test for ovarian reserve?

See your physician to have your blood drawn and send the blood sample to a laboratory offering the inhibin B test.

Are there any special issues regarding sample collection?

For proper interpretation of inhibin B results, blood should be drawn on the third day following the start of a menstrual cycle.

How long will it be until my inhibin B result is ready?

Your inhibin B result will be sent to your physician within two to four business days.

Will my health insurance pay for my test?

Since the inhibin B test is relatively new, it is not frequently covered by health insurance; however, it is best to speak directly to your physician or health insurance company.