Your doctor is typically your best resource when it comes to determining whether your follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) results are normal or not. He can tell you what he considers acceptable as well as the range of normal values according to the testing laboratory and those normal for your geographic region. In most cases, levels of less than nine are considered normal for women who are hoping to conceive. If your FSH results are 11 or above, however, your doctor may question whether you have adequate ovarian reserves.
The first thing to do when interpreting FSH test results is to consult with your doctor. This is due to the fact that you may find conflicting information if you try to interpret FSH test results based on information you find in your own research. A doctor can fill you in on the levels he considers normal, or normal for your age and the cycle day on which the test was performed. He can also explain why your levels may be outside of the normal range and any other factors that could contribute to the reason your test result was higher or lower than expected.
It is usually important to consider the cycle day on which an FSH test was performed when you are interpreting the results. Typically, FSH tests are performed on females as an assessment of ovarian reserves, which means the quantity of eggs she has. In such a case, the test is usually performed on day three of the menstrual cycle. If you are having your FSH tested for this reason and it is not done on day three, give or take about a day, it may not prove an accurate assessment of your ovarian reserves. In some cases, however, ovarian reserves are also tested on day 10 of your menstrual cycle after you have taken a medication called clomiphene — this test can help reveal high FSH levels in women who had normal tests on day three.
The levels that are considered normal for FSH results may depend on your doctor, the country in which you live, and the laboratory evaluating the test. In general, however, day three FSH results for a fertile woman are less than nine. Levels that are from nine to 11 are usually considered fair levels that are still in the normal range. A level of 11 may be considered borderline high, depending on the doctor and lab in question. Some fertility clinics prefer not to provide in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures for women who have levels of 11 or above.
If you receive FSH results from day three that are 11, 12, or above, this can be an indication of a low ovarian reserve. This often translates into a poor response to drugs used in IVF as well as a lower fertilization and live-birth rate. Pregnancy, and even natural pregnancy without fertility medication, is still possible at such high levels, but your chances for a successful pregnancy may be diminished in such a case.