Diminished ovarian reserve is a condition in which a woman has fewer eggs in her ovaries than other women her age. The team at Dallas IVF realizes that this diagnosis can be disheartening, but a DFW fertility specialist from our office may be able to help you become a parent.
Diminished ovarian reserve can be caused by a variety of factors
Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have, and each woman loses her eggs at a different rate. Women over 35 will experience a rapid decline in the quality and quantity of their eggs, but some may experience this decline much earlier. For women under the age of 35, diminished ovarian reserve is a predictor of premature ovarian failure.
There are a number of factors that can cause diminished ovarian reserve.
- Loss of an ovary
- Surgery for ovarian cysts or tumors
- Autoimmune disorders
- Cancer treatments
There are a number of tests available to assess your ovarian reserve
Our DFW fertility center team can evaluate your ovarian reserve using a variety of tests. We will often use more than one test as a way to get a clearer picture of a woman’s fertility.
- Antral follicle count involves using a transvaginal ultrasound to count the egg-containing follicles that are present at the beginning of your cycle. At least six to eight follicles indicates a normal ovarian reserve.
- FSH levels can be taken on Day 2, 3 or 4 of your cycle. FSH levels should be less than 10. Levels over 15 indicate a significant reduction in ovarian reserve and suggest that a woman will struggle to conceive, even with fertility treatments. FSH levels between 10 and 15 are more of a gray area where pregnancy may still be possible.
- Estradiol levels should be collected along with FSH. If estradiol levels are at a normal level of under 60, then FSH levels are more likely to be accurate. If estradiol levels are over 60, then FSH levels could be less accurate and a woman is more likely to have diminished ovarian reserve.
- AMH levels, the new gold standard in assessing diminished ovarian reserve, are an indicator of how many eggs are likely left in a woman’s ovaries. An AMH level between 1-3 corresponds with a normal ovarian reserve.
Fertility treatments for diminished ovarian reserve
It’s important to realize that a diagnosis of diminished ovarian reserve doesn’t mean that it will be impossible for you to get pregnant. However, it does mean that it may be more difficult.
If you visit our DFW fertility center, we will encourage you to take a more aggressive approach to fertility treatment, since time is of the essence.
While ovarian stimulation is a common treatment for many causes of infertility, it usually doesn’t always help patients with diminished ovarian reserve without further treatments. However, there are certain protocols that may increase your odds of conceiving. Additionally, there is always the option to use donor eggs and IVF.
If you have more questions about diminished ovarian reserve and what treatments can help you become a parent, please contact our DFW fertility center for information about our compassionate and cutting-edge approach to treatment.