DALLAS — Parenthood had never been priority for 38-year-old Tracy Freeny.
"I never thought that I would be a mommy," she said, proudly admitting to being a career woman who never heard that biological clock ticking... until she got married and couldn't conceive.
"Our families were like, 'You haven't given this man a baby yet?'" Freeny said. "It was like the elephant in the room when we were going through it."
A Scottish study found that women had lost 90 percent of their eggs by the time they were 30 years old; 97 percent were gone by the age of 40.
Freeny was advised by her gynecologist to get a simple blood test that checks for AMH, or anti-Müllerian hormone, a hormone produced by the ovarian follicles that contain unfertilized eggs.
"It's a hormone test that can tell you a patient's egg supply," says Dr. Noel Peng, a reproductive endocrinologist at Medical City Dallas Hospital. "It can't tell you exactly how many eggs are left, but it can tell you if there is an adequate or inadequate supply."
Peng said the test has been around for a number of years, but more recent studies are proving its value when it comes to determining fertility. The test does not determine the quality of the remaining eggs, but the more eggs available, the more likely there are quality eggs among them.
The information women receive from the results can help them make important reproductive decisions.
"If they're not in a situation to get pregnant quickly, they may choose to have their eggs frozen for future use," Peng said.
On the flip side, the test can also help women who are ready to become pregnant attempt fertility treatments.
Peng advised Tracy Freeny that she had a very low egg supply and should try artificial insemination. "The clock was about to stop, so we had to move forward," she said.
Peyton Noel (not coincidentally named after Dr. Noel Peng) was born 16 months ago, much to her parents' delight.
The AMH test costs under $100 and can be covered by insurance. Peng recommends that women who haven't had children by the age of 35 get the test to help them determine their possible future fertility.