What Does That Really Mean?
For women starting fertility treatment, your ovarian reserve is one of the first things your fertility specialist will assess. What is your ovarian reserve, and what does it mean if it’s diminished? Can you still get pregnant?
Technically speaking, your ovarian reserve is a measure of the quality and quantity of your eggs. Every baby who is identified female at birth is born with all the eggs she will ever have, somewhere between 500,000 and 1 million. The number and quality of these eggs are depleted over time, which is a natural part of aging. Sometimes a woman’s ovarian reserve can also be diminished by injury or disease, by cancer treatment or if you are pre-menopausal.
Diminished Ovarian Reserve
Whatever the cause, when the number and quality of eggs is low enough to cause fertility problems, it’s called diminished ovarian reserve. Diminished ovarian reserve is present in up to 30 percent of women who seek fertility treatment. It’s especially common in women age 40 or older, but may happen in younger women as well. Basically, it means that your ovaries aren’t regularly producing eggs of good quality which then ripen and are capable of being fertilized and implanting in your uterus, all of which are necessary to get pregnant. It’s natural for this to happen as you get older.
A reproductive endocrinologist will use blood tests to look for signs of diminished ovarian reserve. Some of these tests are done on the second or third day of your menstrual cycle to measure levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and estradiol, hormones which help control your cycle and the production of eggs. Another blood test measures anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH), which is another measure of your fertility and indicates the approximate number of eggs available. Your fertility specialist may also use a transvaginal ultrasound to assess the number of follicles on your ovaries.
Your age and these test results help determine what kind of fertility treatment is more likely to work for you. Patients with diminished ovarian reserve often need higher doses of fertility medications to stimulate egg production for IVF treatment. If you don’t respond to ovarian stimulation or you don’t succeed with IVF with your own eggs, you may want to consider donor eggs to become pregnant. Older women who use eggs donated by young women have about the same success rate with IVF as younger women using their own eggs, as high as 50 percent. You and your partner will need to agree to use donor eggs, and you both will need counseling before you make a decision.
Making Your Baby Dreams a Reality
If you’re ready to pursue IVF treatment, WIN Fertility can help. WINFertility’s FertilityCoachSM Nurses or professionally-trained Patient Specialists can help you find an excellent reproductive endocrinologist in your area and get discounted treatment packages and financing options.
WINFertility provides lower than market-rate Treatment and Medication Bundles which combine genetic testing (if required) medical services for a single IVF treatment and medications at a discounted “pay-as-you-go” price saving you up to 40% off the total cost of your treatment cycle. The bundle is tailored for your specific treatment plan, and you only pay for the treatment you need, unlike traditional multi-cycle discount plans in which you pay for up to 6 attempts that you may never need in order to receive a discount. For those patients who think they may need an additional IVF attempt to become pregnant, the WINFertility 2nd Chance IVF Refund Program helps control costs, maximizes your chance of success and minimizes your risk of overpaying. Are you ready to take the next step? Visit www.WINFertility.com or call 1-855-705-4483 (4IVF.)