Today I would like to talk to you about Ovarian Reserve. The term ovarian reserve means egg inventory, how many eggs are left in the ovary. When a woman starts menstruating as a teenager she has about 500,000 eggs in her ovaries, and over time batches of these eggs will be released every month. So by the age of 30 a woman only has 10% of her eggs left, and at age 40 she only has 3% of her eggs left. That sounds rather alarming, but the good news is fertility is still quite good when a woman is in her 30’s.
In order to test or estimate ovarian reserve we can do a variety of tests. One test is done with an ultrasound when a woman is on her period and involves counting the resting eggs. If we see 8 or more eggs in the ovaries that means the ovarian reserve is still good. Blood tests for ovarian reserve are Day 3 FSH & Estradiol and the Anti Mullerian Hormone test. The purpose for testing ovarian reserve is to plan fertility therapy. Fertility therapy is based on recruiting more eggs and making more embryos in order to increase the chance for pregnancy.
Women with a low ovarian reserve tend to make less eggs and therefore we see less embryos and lower pregnancy rates. Low ovarian reserve does not mean that a woman can’t get pregnant, in fact if she is ovulating and in her 30’s there’s a good chance that she can get pregnant.