Despite ample evidence of variation in timing of menopause, little is known about the extent or underlying causes of individual variation in ovarian reserve and age-related follicular decline. Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH), a hormonal marker of ovarian reserve, may be a useful tool to clarify these questions. We describe AMH in a cohort of Filipino young adult women, and evaluate whether ovarian reserve in early adulthood relates to measures of life history scheduling (menarcheal age) and reproductive effort (parity).
Data and samples are obtained from 294 nonpregnant participants (21.5 years ± 0.3) in the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey. Plasma AMH was assayed using an enzyme immunoassay and relationships between AMH, menarcheal age, and parity were examined.
Mean AMH was 4.3 ng/mL. In multiple regression models, women who experienced menarche earlier had significantly higher AMH as young adults (P < 0.05). Women with two (P < 0.05) and three or more (P < 0.01) children had significantly lower AMH than those with no children. These associations were independent of age, smoking, and body mass index.
These findings suggest that individual variation in life history scheduling and reproductive history could contribute to variation in ovarian reserve. Moreover, they demonstrate the utility of AMH as a tool for human reproductive ecology, and highlight the need for further research clarifying the extent of human population variation in ovarian reserve and the behavioral and ecological influences underlying this variation. Am. J. Hum. Biol., 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.