How does my ovarian reserve affect fertility?
- Posted on: Oct 14 2013
To understand how the ovarian reserve affects a woman’s fertility, you must first understand what the reserve is. The ovarian reserve is the entire collection of eggs that her body can provide as potential embryos for fertilization.
These eggs are resting in a premature state, and depending on the quality of the reserve, it may be hard for some women to decipher why they are infertile.
What is the ovarian reserve?
The quality of the egg pool, or ovarian reserve, directly determines a woman’s fertility throughout her life. Each woman is born with a set number of eggs in her body with the first menstruation, and each subsequent one, consuming healthy eggs from this reserve. In general many eggs are used from this ovarian reserve each month not just one. The body will pick the best egg out of the pool of developing eggs to ovulate.
Thus, as the woman ages, the general quantity and quality of eggs decline with each passing year resulting in menopause when the ovarian reserve becomes empty.
How long is a woman’s reproductive window?
This reproductive window on average lasts from the first menstruation until menopause occurs, but fertility can be problematic starting about 10-15 years before menopause occurs.
What role does FSH and AMH play in fertility?
The older a woman becomes dictates the amount of FSH required to stimulate an egg into maturation. In women with poor the eggs or few egg number more FSH will be needed to develop an egg. Therefore higher levels of FSH are associated with a lower chance of achieving pregnancy. For some women, the amount required is more than their body can produce; meaning that it has become physically impossible for the woman to prepare an egg on her own, then the woman goes into a menopausal state and stops ovulating. Antimullerian Hormone (AMH) is probably the most useful test in predicting the egg supply and “female fertility”. The lower the AMH the fewer eggs that a woman has and closer she is to menopause.
What factors affect fertility?
A woman’s fertility, or her chance of conceiving, depends entirely on a number of factors. Egg quality is important , but at least one fallopian tube must be open, the uterus receptive to embryo implantation and the partner’s sperm normal in order to conceive.
Are fertility tests reliable?
Fertility tests are very reliable. Two reliable tests that can be performed on the second, third or fourth day of the menstrual cycle are FSH and estradiol. The AMH level is not restricted to the third day of a natural cycle, and is a measurement of the amount of AMH (Anti-mullerian hormone) in the body. AMH should not be measured during fertility treatment cycles after the fertility medication has been started. The amount of AMH is inverse to the amount of FSH, meaning the larger the amount of AMH present, the higher chance of being able to conceive.
Testing the ovarian reserve is the quickest way to know of a woman’s fertility, and doing this testing can be a good indication on whether or not a woman will be able to use her own eggs in conception. A fertility doctor may then use ovulation induction if necessary to help achieve pregnancy in woman with good or average quality eggs.
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