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How Low Ovarian Reserve Impacts Your Chances of Successful IVF

Low Ovarian Reserve

Introduction: Embarking on the journey towards conception through IVF can be a complex and emotional process. Age and ovarian reserve are two significant factors that can impact the success of IVF treatments. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of ovarian reserve, understand its implications for IVF, explore testing methods to measure the ovarian reserve, and discuss alternative solutions to enhance the chances of successful conception, such as the option of using donor eggs. By shedding light on low ovarian reserves and its impact on IVF, we aim to provide valuable insights for individuals considering or undergoing IVF treatments at First Fertility in Bangkok.

Understanding Ovarian Reserve and Its Impact on IVF

There are many factors that play a role in a woman’s ability to conceive through IVF. At the top of the list is age, along with the available ovarian reserve. If you are thinking about having IVF treatments in Bangkok or have already attempted IVF without success, you should understand the impact of low ovarian reserves.

Defining Ovarian Reserve

Your ovarian reserve refers to the capacity of normal egg cells within the ovary. These are the healthy egg cells available for fertilization. The eggs you are born with are all you will produce during your lifetime. Most of these eggs are normal and healthy, however, as you age, more eggs become abnormal and the ovarian reserve decreases. This limits the number of healthy eggs that may respond to ovarian stimulation.

Diagram of Ovary
Source: https://byjus.com/neet/ovary-diagram/

Factors Leading to Low Ovarian Reserve

A decline in genetically normal eggs is natural and becomes more common after the age of 34. However, there are also factors that decrease the ovarian reserve for women of any age. This includes smoking, ovarian scarring from endometriosis, and pelvic infections. Complications from surgeries and other medical treatments, including cancer treatments, may also result in low-quality eggs. Aside from this, a small percentage of women, simply, are born with a lower number of eggs.

Impact on IVF Success

A low ovarian reserve does not mean that the available eggs are abnormal. With IVF treatments, women 40 years of age or older have a live birth rate of 20 per cent. A limited reserve may lower the chances of successful conception. However, First Fertility offers an alternate solution that may increase the odds.

Measuring Ovarian Reserve

When considering IVF treatments, patients often need to have their ovarian reserve measured through a series of tests. This includes blood tests, ultrasounds, and the testing of specific hormone levels.

Antral Follicle Count and Its Significance

Ultrasound imaging is used to inspect the antral follicles, which are a measure of the egg supply and a good indicator of the ovarian reserve.

  • Fertility clinics often use an antral follicle count to evaluate the chances of successful IVF treatment.
  • It also helps develop appropriate treatment options.

Role of Blood Tests

Starting on the third day of your menstrual cycle, a blood test may be used to measure FSH levels. The pituitary gland produces the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), which is responsible for stimulating the follicles to produce eggs.

  • Your body continues to produce FSH to help stimulate the production of eggs, even when you have a low ovarian reserve.
  • If the blood test reveals high FSH levels on the third day of your menstrual cycle, you may have a low reserve.

Anti-Mullerian Hormone Levels

The Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) is another hormone that is measured to help predict the successful response to ovarian stimulation treatments. AMH is produced in the ovary, early in the production of eggs.

  • Low levels of AMH in a woman’s body may indicate a low ovarian reserve.

Conclusion on Ovarian Reserve

Understanding your ovarian reserve can be crucial when considering IVF treatments. It not only affects the chances of successful conception but also helps in determining the most suitable treatment options based on your individual ovarian reserve.

Insights from First Fertility

In our experience, infertility can arise from various causes. A thorough medical evaluation, such as those offered by First Fertility’s IVF Treatment programs, is essential. We’ve seen how treatments, ranging from medication to advanced procedures like in vitro fertilization, can offer hope to those facing challenges on their conception journey.

Understanding AMH Levels and Ovarian Reserve

AMH levels are used to help determine the number of available eggs for IVF treatments. This test is also used to decide on a beginning dose for ovarian stimulation drugs, and other VF medications. Unlike the FSH levels, AMH levels are tested at any point during the menstrual cycle

Significance of AMH Levels

While AMH levels are believed to be connected to the ovarian reserve, the research is not conclusive. Low AMH levels may indicate that the rate that you produce eggs is decreasing quicker than normal or it may indicate that you have a low ovarian reserve. However, the AMH levels are still a general indicator of fertility.

Low AMH levels do not always indicate that a woman has a limited chance of successful IVF. There are many additional issues that can impact fertility.

Ovarian Reserve and Fertility

Your ovarian reserve is closely related to your overall fertility. However, a low reserve does not necessarily mean that you cannot get pregnant. At First Fertility, we have successfully treated many women with lower reserves. The tests used to measure the ovarian reserve, provide additional information about your fertility, which can be used to help determine the best treatment. For example, women with a low ovarian reserve may require higher doses following the beginning doses of ovarian-stimulating hormones.

Risk Factors and Treatment Decisions

Testing the ovarian reserve also gives more data to determine risk factors for Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS). This is a rare medical condition that can occur when taking fertility drugs. While it is very rare, and most cases are mild, it is still a potential concern.

Testing helps determine the risk of OHSS to reduce the chances of complications from IVF treatments. If it is determined that you have a higher risk factor for developing these complications, you begin treatment with lower doses and may require additional monitoring.

Options for Low Ovarian Reserve

A low reserve does not always indicate a low chance of successful fertilization, using your own eggs. However, it is useful for deciding on a treatment plan. If you are worried about the success of IVF treatments, there is another solution. You may also choose to use donor eggs for your IVF.

Deciding on a treatment, is a personal decision. If it is important to you, to use your own eggs, everything possible will be done to help increase your chances of success. However, women that choose to use donor eggs often have a much higher success rate. First Fertility has helped many women successfully get pregnant and deliver healthy children after choosing to use donor eggs. 

Conclusion: Understanding your ovarian reserve and its impact on IVF treatments is essential for making informed decisions about your fertility journey. While a low ovarian reserve may present challenges, there are various tests and treatment options available to help improve your chances of successful conception. Whether you choose to proceed with your own eggs or explore alternative solutions like donor eggs, seeking expert guidance from professionals at First Fertility can provide valuable support and increase your prospects of achieving a healthy pregnancy.

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Ovarian Reserve and How Does It Impact IVF Treatment?

Ovarian reserve refers to the quantity and quality of a woman’s eggs. A low ovarian reserve can reduce the chances of successful conception through IVF treatments.

2. What Factors Can Result in a Low Ovarian Reserve?

Factors such as age, smoking, ovarian scarring from endometriosis, pelvic infections, complications from surgeries, and certain medical treatments can lead to a low ovarian reserve.

3. How Is Ovarian Reserve Measured for IVF Treatments?

Ovarian reserve is measured through blood tests, ultrasounds to count antral follicles, and evaluation of specific hormone levels such as follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH).

4. Can a Low Ovarian Reserve Affect the Likelihood of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) During IVF?

Yes, testing the ovarian reserve helps determine the risk of OHSS, a rare complication from fertility drugs. It enables the treatment plan to be adjusted to reduce the chances of complications.

5. What Options Are Available for IVF with a Low Ovarian Reserve?

Women with a low ovarian reserve may require higher doses of ovarian-stimulating hormones. Alternatively, using donor eggs can significantly increase the chances of successful fertilization.

  • Published on : Tuesday July 10, 2018
  • Last updated : Friday July 5, 2024
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About the author

Michelle Tan is an IVF Consultant with 12 years of experience in fertility consulting. Having personally undergone IVF and surrogacy, she brings firsthand insight and empathy to her work. Based in Singapore, Michelle frequently travels to clinics in Bangkok, Phnom Penh, and Bishkek, sharing her expertise and supporting patients on their fertility journeys.