Dr. Petrini discusses the options for conceiving with diminished ovarian reserve
Everyone has at least heard about the female “biological clock,” but not everyone has heard of diminished ovarian reserve (DOR). However, these two concepts go hand in hand. According to Dr. Allison Petrini, “Having diminished ovarian reserve, or a low egg supply, is more common as women age, but it is not necessarily related. Ovarian reserve is what many people mean when they talk about the ‘biological clock.’”
While it may be more difficult to welcome a baby with a reduced egg supply, it isn’t impossible. “Through individualized care and advances in reproductive medicine, we can help more women with diminished ovarian reserve conceive,” our Austin fertility specialist explains.
What is diminished ovarian reserve and how does Dr. Petrini diagnose it?
“Simply put, diminished ovarian reserve means that a woman has reduced egg quantity compared to other women her age,” Dr. Petrini explains.
It’s important to know that every woman is different, so not everyone will experience DOR at the same time. “Typically, a woman’s egg quality and quantity start to decrease more rapidly around age 35, but it can happen earlier or later, depending on the woman. This is why testing is so important,” Dr. Petrini says.
When it comes to diagnosing diminished ovarian reserve, our Austin fertility specialist typically orders two types of testing.
- Bloodwork to assess fertility-related hormones, including anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH), estradiol and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
- Transvaginal ultrasound to view the ovaries and their egg-containing follicles
“These two tests can help identify whether a woman has a reduced egg supply,” Dr. Petrini says. “Once we have that information, we can start developing a plan for conceiving with diminished ovarian reserve.”
What are the options for conceiving with diminished ovarian reserve?
Because each patient is different, there are multiple options for conceiving with DOR. “I review each patient’s test results and discuss their family-planning goals to decide which treatment option will be best for them,” our Austin fertility specialist explains. “I also explain to them that with diminished ovarian reserve, time is of the essence.”
Women who still have some viable eggs may be able to conceive with help from in vitro fertilization (IVF). This process requires the woman to take medications to encourage her ovaries to produce and mature multiple eggs. Then Dr. Petrini will retrieve the eggs and our team will fertilize them in the laboratory. Dr. Petrini will eventually transfer one of the resulting embryos to the woman’s uterus.
Women who do not have enough eggs in their ovaries can still become mothers with help from donor eggs. These eggs come from a healthy, young woman who the patient selects to be her egg donor. The laboratory will fertilize the donor eggs with sperm from the patient’s partner and then Dr. Petrini will transfer an embryo into the patient’s uterus.
Contact us if you would like to schedule an appointment with this Austin fertility specialist to learn more about treatments for diminished ovarian reserve.