Ovarian reserve is the total supply of follicles at different stages of growth in a woman’s ovaries. These include the most immature germ cells, which are just about to develop to full-fledged eggs, as well as growing and maturing oocytes. The number of follicles is laid during the period of intrauterine formation and depends on genetic factors. Thus, a woman’s supply of eggs is predetermined before birth, and with age it only depletes. How quickly this happens depends on various factors.
How many follicles should there be in a healthy woman’s ovary?
At birth, the number of germ cells reaches 2 million. By the beginning of puberty, their number is reduced to 270-470 thousand. In the future, each cycle begins to grow about 10-15 oocytes, of which only one matures and becomes a full-fledged egg, rarely two or more. The rest die as a result of the body’s natural endocrine function.
Thus, for the entire reproductive period the number of eggs in a woman reaches 400-500, while only a part can give pregnancy.
Age, genetics, and other factors affect the number of follicles in the ovaries. The norm is therefore relative and assumes individual interpretation. However, it is possible to estimate the ovarian reserve. This is done by such a field of medicine as Reproductology (Odessa). Contact the clinic “Lada” to undergo a professional examination and find out your indicator.
As a rule, an intensive decrease in ovarian reserve occurs at the age of over 35 years. During this period, the number of primary oocytes reaches 25 thousand, after which their volume begins to decrease twice as fast. At the same time, the quality of the oocytes changes, which leads to a decrease in the possibility of their fertilization.
Such tests allow checking the state of the ovarian reserve.
- Transvaginal ultrasound of the ovaries. The specialist determines the condition of the appendages and the number of antral follicles, that is, those for which maturation and transformation into an egg are most likely. Normally, there are 5-10 primary cells in the ovaries.
- Blood test for anti-Müllerian hormone. This substance is produced by the ovaries. This is one of the main indicators of ovarian reserve. Normally, the AMG indicator is 1.5-5 ng / ml. Below 1 ng / ml, the oocyte count is low.
- Blood test for follicle-stimulating hormone. It is produced by the pituitary gland. This hormone is responsible for the growth and maturation of eggs. Analysis in the first phase of the cycle allows you to draw realistic conclusions about the state of the ovarian reserve.
Low ovarian reserve and spontaneous pregnancy
Negative test results are not a reason to abandon pregnancy planning. This only means that the patient’s chances of spontaneous conception are reduced and she needs reproductive therapy. Infertility in women, treatment based on determining the causes of the disease and choosing the most effective ART method.
Low AMH is not a sentence, equals as well as the lack of an adequate supply of follicles for ultrasound. As a rule, correctly selected reproductive therapy helps to get pregnant and give birth to a healthy child. Most often, this is an IVF protocol, which allows you to use the available number of eggs as efficiently as possible.
Is it possible to get pregnant if there are few follicles ? Yes, with a properly selected treatment program, conception is possible already in the first IVF cycle. In especially difficult cases, when the oocyte supply is almost completely depleted, donor material can be used.
How to increase ovarian reserve
The number of available oocytes is determined from birth. There is no way to increase ovarian reserve. However, it is possible to increase the chances of pregnancy and having a healthy baby if you turn to the possibilities of reproductive medicine.
First of all, a woman can cryopreserve its germ cells to create an artificial egg bank for future pregnancies. The delayed motherhood program allows you to preserve the youthfulness of the reproductive material for many years.
You can also prevent intense depletion of the ovarian reserve by eliminating factors that accelerating this process. These include bad habits, unhealthy lifestyle, illness, surgery.