Could You Find Out Your Deadline For Having Kids?

by Emma Cueto

What if there was a test to tell you when your deadline for having kids is? Well, it turns out this type of "baby deadline" test exists, but whether or not you should take it is another story. For one thing, there's no guarantee precisely how accurate it is. And for another, it opens a whole can of worms you're maybe not ready to deal with.

The test, which is specifically an anti-Müllerian hormone test, is typically used to help women who are already having difficulty getting pregnant and have been trying for at least six months. But as The New Republic reports, many doctors offer the test to women who have never tried getting pregnant. It's typically listed as a type of "fertility counseling" and it's apparently becoming more and more common among young, single women.

So what does the test do? Well, as the name might suggest, at it's most basic it measures anti-Müllerian hormone, which is produced by follicles on the ovaries. For this reason, a woman's levels of anti-Müllerian hormone are a good indicator of how many eggs she has left, and can therefore be used as a way to assess her odds of getting pregnant — and, in theory, whether a woman is hitting a point at which conception might be more difficult. Or as Fertility Associates puts it, it can "help predict whether a woman may have a faster biological clock."

So using this test, can you construct a timeline for yourself and figure out what your deadline is for having kids? Well, not exactly.

For one thing, according to the Reproductive Medicine Association of New Jersey, the anti-Müllerian hormone test hasn't been in use long enough for medical professionals to really figure out what constitutes a "normal" level of anti-Müllerian hormone, or use the levels to predict the number of follicles — and thus eggs — as precisely as you might hope. And they still aren't sure what a low anti-Müllerian hormone level might mean for your future, or whether levels can go up.

However, at the moment, the anti-Müllerian hormone is, according to many fertility experts, the best tool modern medicine has to figuring out how fertile a woman might be. So should you take one?

Well, only you can answer that. On the one hand, it might help put things in perspective for you. On the other, it's unclear how much faith you can put in the results and it can potentially freak you out over nothing. Still, if you're in a position where you're thinking about having kids sometime soon, it might be worth a shot.