Ovarian Reserve Testing
One of the greatest threats to fertility for females is advancing age. Beginning in the mid-30s, the egg supply, or egg “reserve,” for women begins to drop at an increasing pace. Ovarian reserve is a rough estimate of the number of eggs a woman has remaining for the future.
Female age is important in considering the probability for pregnancy because it is linked to egg quality, which directly affects embryo quality. A decrease in both the quantity and quality of the eggs (below threshold levels) is known as diminished ovarian reserve.
Tests of ovarian reserve are done be fertility specialists to estimate the remaining egg supply and to help us choose the most efficient course of treatment. The three best tests for ovarian reserve are:
Ovarian reserve tests cannot tell us directly about egg quality. Female age is the best indicator we have at this time for egg quality. Women with better ovarian reserve testing will tend to have better response to ovarian stimulation for IVF and have more eggs retrieved. In general, having more eggs with IVF gives a higher success rate.
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