A Low Egg Count

Ovarian reserve is the quantity and quality of a woman’s eggs. Diminished ovarian reserve is when a woman carries fewer eggs in the ovaries than expected. A low ovarian reserve can make the ability to become pregnant tricky but there are ways to manage. This affects about 10% of women and occurs due to different causes.


1. Age is an essential element

One main cause of diminished ovarian reserve is a woman’s age. At birth, a girl is born with all the possible number of eggs. As one gets older, the number of oocytes or eggs decreases. A female newborn has about 1-2 million oocytes and by age 37, there are about 25,000 eggs left.

2. The use of treatment modalities

Undergoing a certain type of therapy for a medical condition can impact one’s eggs. Treatments such as surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy put a woman at risk of experiencing low ovarian reserve.

3. Diagnosed with a specific condition

A diagnosis of a medical disorder can impact a person’s other organ systems. Similarly, genetic disorders, autoimmune conditions, endometriosis, mumps, and pelvic infection can affect a woman’s ovarian reserve.

Trying to conceive with own eggs

A low ovarian reserve makes pregnancy difficult for women. However, there are some possibilities to help conceive. A woman can try conceiving without fertility treatments with the use of fertility preservation or taking dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) supplements. Based on a few studies, DHEA supplements are mild androgens that are effective in improving fertility. Fertility preservation is the process of retrieving and freezing one’s eggs to use later.

Using the help of fertility treatments

In complicated cases, doctors turn to fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) to help one become pregnant. Procedures such as ovarian superovulation or donor eggs are employed. Ovarian superovulation is using injectable hormones to make multiple eggs which are then used later for cryopreservation or IVF. Donor eggs are used together with IVF.

When is IVF the best option?

IVF is kept as a last resort when other treatments fail to achieve pregnancy. IVF with donor eggs is considered the best option for women with a diminished ovarian reserve. After looking into the patient’s medical history and tests, the fertility specialist will recommend the best option to become pregnant.

Hopes of conceiving with low ovarian reserve

A woman has a diminished ovarian reserve for different reasons such as aging, treatment, and diagnosed medical condition. This interferes with the ability to conceive naturally. However, there are still rays of hope for becoming a mother. In the majority of cases, IVF gives hope to achieving pregnancy successfully.

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