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Female Infertility

Low Egg Reserve — Points to Consider

Trying to get pregnant can be overwhelming. There are so many factors at play, it’s a miracle any babies are conceived at all!

If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, it’s important to see our fertility specialists at IVFMD in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, right away. We can do tests to uncover the reasons why you may be faced with infertility.

Low ovarian reserve is one reason why you could have trouble getting pregnant. Also called low egg reserve, it refers to the number and quality of eggs you have left. A low ovarian reserve means you have less than the average number of eggs expected for a woman your age.

Here’s everything you need to know about having a low egg reserve.

How do we test your egg reserve?

There aren’t many obvious symptoms of low egg reserve, so our fertility experts ask you about:

  • Absent or late periods
  • Shorter-than-average menstrual cycles
  • Irregular periods with a heavy or light flow
  • History of miscarriage

These symptoms, combined with your age or lifestyle, may lead your doctor to suspect a low ovarian reserve.

We test it by performing a baseline pelvic sonogram during the first three days of your menstrual cycle. This shows us how many follicles are in your ovaries. A normal amount is 12 per ovary; 1-10 is considered low.

We also conduct a blood test to check your anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) level. AMH is produced by the future generations of follicles, not those in your current cycle, so it’s a good indicator of your ovarian reserve.

An AMH level of 1.5 ng/ml or higher is considered normal and an AMH level of less than 1.0 ng/ml is considered low.

Treatment options

If your doctor determines you have a diminished ovarian reserve, don’t despair. You may still be able to get pregnant. It only takes one egg to result in a successful pregnancy.

Borderline or low ovarian reserve

In vitro fertilization (IVF) can be an excellent option for borderline or low ovarian reserve. We offer the estrogen primed antagonist protocol to help the maximum number of follicles reach maturity in your cycle. This method has helped many patients conceive over the years.

Very low ovarian reserve

In this case, the mini IVF protocol may be the best treatment option. This gentler approach uses cost-effective medications like clomiphene to help release the natural follicle stimulating hormones from the pituitary gland. These hormones cause the follicles to grow.

We recently introduced the INVOCELL® capsule that allows a patient to carry her own embryos during the five-day culture period, which helps to keep costs down.

Extremely low ovarian reserve

Ovulation induction with intrauterine insemination for several cycles is the best option for women with extremely low ovarian reserve. This method keeps costs down and avoids the emotional burden that comes with IVF treatment.

What you can do to improve your odds

Like most things in life, quality wins over quantity. You might not have as many eggs in your reserve as you’d like, but there are ways to increase your chances of getting pregnant. Here’s what you can do:

  • Stop smoking and avoid breathing in secondhand smoke.
  • Maintain a healthy weight with a body mass index less than 35.
  • Keep your stress in check. Stress decreases the release of natural follicle stimulating hormones and can throw a wrench into mini IVF treatments.
  • Eat foods with natural antioxidants, like blueberries, green tea, vegetables. Antioxidants have been shown to increase the fertilization rates in patients undergoing IVF treatments.
  • Take a coenzyme Q10 supplement to encourage cell division after fertilization.
  • Consider taking DHEA to increase the number of eggs available each month.

To find out how we can help you, schedule a consultation with a caring and experienced doctor at IVFMD. Call one of our convenient locations in Irving, Arlington, or Grapevine,Texas, or request an appointment online.