How Low Ovarian Reserve Affects Women

Ovarian reserves are an essential part of the fertility process for women. A woman is born with close to 2 million eggs at birth. By puberty, a woman has 500,000 or fewer eggs. Once menstruation starts, a woman loses one egg per month. Throughout a lifetime, a woman loses 500 eggs. When a woman reaches menopause, the rest of the eggs in the ovaries die. A woman with low ovarian reserves is already at a disadvantage because the body does not produce enough healthy eggs. Add in the other factors and pregnancy becomes much more difficult.

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How do doctors determine if a woman has low ovarian reserves?

Usually, doctors detect low ovarian reserves during routine testing before in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment. The condition is most often associated with women in the mid to late thirties, but younger women can also have low ovarian reserves. Doctors use ovarian reserve tests to determine egg quality. These tests examine the hormones within the blood. One of these hormones, anti-Mullerian, lets doctors know how many eggs a woman has. Another hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), represents the maturation of the follicles. The more FSH the body needs, the fewer eggs the body has. Ovarian reserve testing helps doctors establish a fertility timeline. After testing, doctors know how long a woman has to conceive naturally.

Can a woman with low ovarian reserves get pregnant?

A woman with low ovarian reserves can still conceive and carry children. IVF treatments cannot improve egg quality or increase the number of eggs within the ovarian reserves, but IVF does offer the patient a few options. Once a woman learns of low ovarian reserves, the woman can plan accordingly. The woman can either choose to conceive as quickly as possible or freeze the healthy eggs for future use. When a woman decides to conceive, the doctor works with the patient to maintain optimal uterine health to create the best environment for a fertilized egg.

A fertility doctor can help

For patients that suspect low ovarian reserves are to blame for problems conceiving, speak to a healthcare provider that specializes in fertility care. This doctor can perform ovarian reserve tests and other examinations to help women understand the biological clock. Schedule an appointment today to get started.

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