What is Ovarian Reserve?
The count of oocytes or eggs in ovaries is predetermined when a woman is born. It is believed that as a woman ages, there is a steady decrease until she hits menopause. Ovarian Reserve can be described as the current supply of egg, and it is one of the determining factors that dictate the possibilities of conceiving successfully. You have to admit that chances of successful conception and ovarian reserve are interrelated. In this backdrop, if you have crossed the age of 35 and finding it hard to have a baby, you should consult a doctor for a screening of ovarian reserve. In the process of fertility evaluation, it is indeed the first step.
Changes in Ovarian Reserve as a Woman Ages
In contemporary times, couples often delay childbirth due to economic and societal reasons. There is a steady surge in the number of women who are having their first child around the age of 35. It has to be remembered though that 20 to 35 is the best age-group of successfully conceiving.
Beyond the age of 35, the chances of pregnancy risks in the course of childbirth and post-birth leverage. Incidents of miscarriages are common among elderly women. The percentage of miscarriage among women at the age of 35 to 39 is around 24 percent, which increases to a whopping 51 percent at the age of 40 to 44. There are chances of other complications associated with pregnancy, like increased blood pressure, gestational diabetes, etc. Cesarean delivery is more common among women giving birth at an older age.
Besides the ovarian reserve, there are other determining factors. The relationship between age and fertility has been a subject of profound medical research. It has been found that women aged 40 or above has lesser egg discharge per cycle. Moreover, the success rate of embryo implantation drops beyond the age of 35.
The egg age also determines fertility. When a donor egg is used, it improves the chances of conception if the donor is under the age of 35. Conception chances optimize with younger eggs.
Why should you screen your Ovarian Reserve?
If you are considering a fertility treatment, it is important to know whether there are sufficient amounts of eggs present in your ovary. It may impede the chances of success from a fertility treatment if your ovarian reserve has hit a low.
The medical fraternity recommends that women over the age of 35 on failing to conceive after repeated attempts for a period of six months should opt for some tests that include:
- Cancer treatment histories like radiotherapy and chemotherapy
- Chemotherapy-induced medical conditions
- Surgery for endometriosis
Based on the results of the screening, the fertility doctor will recommend the best course of action. If you are postponing the plans to start a family, but if the results are indicative of the fact that a low reserve of eggs in the ovary may reduce the chances of conceiving, then it is high time that you try to have a baby sooner or later.
A low Ovarian Reserve is not the end of the world as far as having a child is concerned. However, if the results are not encouraging enough, then it may be high time to opt for more aggressive treatment options.
How will the doctor conduct a screening of ovarian reserve?
Ovarian reserve can be estimated in different ways, including tests like:
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH): FSH complements egg maturation. It is release triggered by the secretion of certain hormones in the brain. If the amount of FSH is higher than normal, it may be indicative of low egg supply or declining egg quality.
Estradiol: Estradiol is secreted from the ovary when ovarian follicles are in the developmental phase and eventually release an egg on each cycle. The high level of Estradiol suggests premature progress of the follicles.
Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH): There is a steady decrease in the number of follicles when a woman starts to age. Eventually, the AMH levels subside too. The level of AMH does not change during your cycle; hence you can take the sample at any time during the month.
Antral Follicle Count (AFC): Here, an ultrasound machine will be used to view your ovaries and ascertain the follicle numbers from day 2 to day 5. It indicates the follicle numbers that have been irresponsive to IVF. It is indeed the best predictor of IVF outcomes and the success rate of pregnancy.
A poor result in your ovarian reserve screening may be disheartening, but it does not imply that you will never conceive. Ovarian Reserves vary over time, and it is worthwhile to opt for further testing. If you are concerned with the ability to conceive, it is high time that you talk to your doctor to find out the feasibility of a successful conception taking into account all the factors concerned.
Progenesis, the best IVF center in Thane, is here to resolve all your pregnancy issues with a high success rate. Contact us and know more about our doctors.