How ovarian reserve testing positions you for pregnancy
While science has shown that a woman’s age plays a key role in her ability to conceive, every individual is unique and could be more fertile or less fertile as com-pared to the average for her age. Ovarian reserve testing is used by reproductive endocrinologists at Texas Fertility Center to help gain insight into a woman’s fertility potential. Using the results from these tests, we can make an educated guess as to how many eggs she has remaining. Your physician can then discuss the likelihood of your getting pregnant and individualize a fertility treatment plan to maximize your chance for success.
Who benefits from ovarian reserve testing?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends ovarian reserve testing for women older than 35 who have not conceived after 6 months of attempting pregnancy, as well as women at higher risk of diminished ovarian reserve, such as those with a history of cancer treated with chemotherapy, pelvic irradiation or both.
Ovarian reserve testing is also appropriate for women who are using assisted reproductive technology (ART) to help them achieve pregnancy. These services include IVF, egg, or embryo cryopreservation. Women considering egg freezing should have ovarian reserve testing to help fertility specialists predict how their ovaries will respond to fertility medication.
How ovarian reserve testing works
Ovarian reserve may be determined by measuring FSH and estradiol levels on the second or third day of a menstrual cycle; measuring the level of AMH (antimüllerian hormone); and counting the number of small follicles in the ovaries (antral follicle count).
Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) An elevated FSH indicates a diminished egg supply
Antimüllerian hormone (AMH) Low AMH levels suggest a low supply of eggs as well as a potential poor response to ovary stimulating medication.
Antral follicle count This test is performed using transvaginal ultrasonography. Antral follicles are small, unstimulated egg-containing follicles. The number of antral follicles is a relatively good predictor of the number of eggs that a woman has remaining in her ovaries. Typically, the more antral follicles visualized on the ultrasound, the better the fertility potential for the patient.
Although ovarian reserve testing has been applied widely and is helpful in approximating how many eggs a woman has remaining, it doesn’t have the ability to test egg quality or rule out a woman’s ability to conceive. It is important to recognize that a poor result from ovarian reserve testing does not signify a definite inability to conceive, and should not be the sole criteria used when considering limiting or denying access to infertility treatment.
To learn more about what ovarian reserve testing entails, contact one of our highly knowledgeable reproductive endocrinologists.