Race/ethnic disparities in reproductive age: an examination of ovarian reserve estimates across four race/ethnic groups of healthy, regularly cycling women

Fertil Steril. 2014 Jan;101(1):199-207. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2013.09.015. Epub 2013 Oct 29.


Objective: To determine whether reproductive age, as indexed by a validated marker of ovarian reserve (antimüllerian hormone [AMH]), varies among women of different race/ethnic backgrounds.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: Community-based sample.

Patient(s): Multiethnic sample of 947 (277 white, 237 African American, 220 Latina, and 213 Chinese) healthy and regularly cycling premenopausal women, ages 25-45.

Intervention(s): None.

Main outcome measure(s): AMH level.

Result(s): A multivariate model was fit examining race/ethnicity, covariates, nonlinear terms for age (age(2), age(3)), and body mass index (BMI(2), BMI(3)), and two-way interactions between race/ethnicity and each of the other predictor variables in relation to AMH. After backward elimination, significant effects included race/ethnicity (F = 8.45), age (F = 349.94), race/ethnicity-by-linear age interaction (F = 4.67), age(2) (F = 31.61), and BMI (F = 10.69). Inspection of the significant race/ethnicity-by-linear age interaction showed AMH levels were consistently lower among Latina women compared with white women across all ages, whereas AMH levels were lower among African American and Chinese women compared with the white women at younger and middle ages, respectively. The AMH levels were higher among African American compared with Latina and Chinese women at older ages.

Conclusion(s): Although the results must be considered preliminary, the findings are twofold: African American women may have lower AMH levels at younger ages but experience less of a reduction in AMH with advancing age, and Latina and Chinese women compared with white women may have lower AMH levels, marking a lower ovarian reserve and a possibly increased risk for earlier menopause.

Keywords: Antimüllerian hormone (AMH); menopause; ovarian reserve; race/ethnicity; reproductive aging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Anti-Mullerian Hormone / blood*
  • Asian People / ethnology
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Black or African American / ethnology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ethnicity / ethnology*
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino / ethnology
  • Humans
  • Menstrual Cycle / ethnology*
  • Menstrual Cycle / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovary / metabolism*
  • Racial Groups / ethnology
  • Reproduction / physiology*
  • White People / ethnology


  • Biomarkers
  • Anti-Mullerian Hormone