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Diminished Ovarian Reserve

About Diminished Ovarian Reserve

Ovarian reserve refers to amount of eggs present in the ovaries at any given time and reflects the women’s current supply of eggs. This is closely associated with reproductive potential. Diminished ovarian reserve indicates that there is a lower supply of eggs, in turn predicting lower fertility potential. Ovarian reserve results are important to help determine the best chances for success with various treatment options.

Measuring Ovarian Reserve

Ovarian reserve is measured through ultrasound and specific hormonal bloodwork. Having your FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and AMH (antimullerian hormone) levels drawn are indications of egg quantity and quality. There is also an ultrasound performed to indicate antra follicle count (AFC). This allows a fertility specialist to visualize your resting egg follicle count.

Causes of Diminished Ovarian Reserve

Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have, and as they age, they have fewer eggs in the ovaries, causing fertility rates to decline. The loss of egg reserve can be accelerated by a number of factors such as lifestyle, smoking, genetics, exposure to pollutants, surgical removal of part or all of the ovary, endometriosis, and other medical conditions.

Popular treatment options when facing diminished ovarian reserve include:

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Key Female Hormones

Your fertility specialist will be interested in assessing your hormone levels. FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and AMH (anti-mullerian hormone) levels are key indicators to better understand if diminished ovarian reserve is a challenge.

FSH is produced by the pituitary gland, and its purpose is to stimulate mature egg follicles. When there are only a few egg follicles available for maturity, the pituitary gland sends more FSH, increasing the levels. Thus, a high level of FSH indicates your body is attempting to stimulate those egg follicles without success.

AMH is a hormone secreted by each dormant sleeping egg follicle.  The more eggs a woman has, the higher the AMH level in her blood test. AMH levels can be checked at any time during the menstrual cycle, but a low level indicates fewer eggs. Lower egg levels also impact the success of treatments such as IVF, where having multiple mature eggs is key.

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