Intrauterine, Infant, and Childhood Factors and Ovarian Reserve in Young African American Women

J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2019 Dec;28(12):1711-1720. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2018.7382. Epub 2019 Jan 14.


Background: Ovarian toxic exposures during early development may contribute to reduced ovarian reserve in adulthood. Materials and Methods: We explored a range of intrauterine, infant, and childhood factors in relation to a biomarker of ovarian reserve, anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) concentrations, in adulthood. We conducted a cross-sectional exploratory study of 1600 African American women 23-35 years of age residing in the Detroit, Michigan metropolitan area, who had serum AMH measurements (Ansh Labs PicoAMH enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) and no previous polycystic ovarian syndrome diagnosis. Information on 32 intrauterine, infant, and childhood factors was ascertained by self-administered questionnaires, with 87% of participants receiving assistance from mothers. The percent differences in AMH concentrations in relation to early-life factors and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using multivariable linear regression, adjusting for age, current hormonal contraceptive use, and body mass index. Results: Of the early-life factors evaluated in this study, two maternal pregnancy factors were associated with lower AMH concentrations in adult participants. Participants whose mothers lived or worked on a farm (vs. neither lived nor worked on a farm) when pregnant with the participant had 42% lower AMH concentrations (95% CI = -62 to -9). Among participants whose mothers lived in Michigan when pregnant with the participant (n = 1238), maternal residence in Detroit for at least a month was associated with 22% lower AMH concentrations (95% CI = -34 to -8) in the participant. Conclusions: Further research is merited to replicate our findings and identify the aspects of maternal farm exposure and Detroit residence that may be associated with lower AMH concentrations.

Keywords: anti-Müllerian hormone; early life; ovarian reserve.

Publication types

  • Research Support, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Age Factors
  • Anti-Mullerian Hormone / blood
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Linear Models
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects
  • Michigan
  • Ovarian Reserve*
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproductive History
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Biomarkers
  • Anti-Mullerian Hormone