Background: Biological markers of ovarian reserve have the potential to advance research on fecundability, infertility and reproductive aging. Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) has emerged as a clinically useful measure of ovarian reserve, but the requirement for venous blood is an obstacle to application in non-clinical settings. This paper validates a new method for quantifying AMH in dried blood spot (DBS) samples--drops of whole blood collected on filter paper following a simple finger stick.
Methods: Matched serum and DBS samples were obtained from n=101 women of reproductive age, and AMH values were compared using regression analyses and scatter plots. The precision, reliability, linearity, recovery and lower detection limit of the DBS assay were evaluated, as well as the stability of AMH in DBS across a range of storage conditions.
Results: There was a strong agreement between AMH concentrations measured in DBS and serum samples across the entire assay range. Analysis of within-assay (percent coefficient of variation, 4.7-6.5%) and between-assay (3.5-7.2%) variability indicated a high level of assay precision and reliability, respectively. The minimum detectable dose of AMH was 0.065 ng/ml. Concentrations of AMH remained stable in DBS samples stored for 2 weeks at room temperature, and for 4 weeks when refrigerated.
Conclusions: The DBS assay performs at a level that is comparable to serum-based methods, with the advantage of lower burdens and costs associated with blood collection that may be advantageous for research in clinical as well as non-clinical settings on the causes and consequences of variation in ovarian reserve.