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I read about low ovarian reserve in some magazine, what is it all about?

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I read about low ovarian reserve in some magazine, what is it all about?

posted Mar 8, 2016 by Pallavi

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2 Answers

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Ovarian pool/reserve is the number of eggs present within the ovaries at a given point of time. Every girl is born with 1-2 millions of eggs at birth, but by the team puberty takes over only around 1-1.5 lakh remain vital. Amongst these, there are three types; a group of immature eggs, the ones selected for maturation and others which do not mature at all and die.

Low ovarian reserve is the condition when there is less number of ovaries compared to the standard limits. It can be identified by testing the presence of Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) the level which is directly proportional to the number of eggs in the ovaries. This condition may be caused due to following reason:

1. Turner’s syndrome – The absence of one X chromosome in the female, contributing to the feminine attributes. Thus, the female would not be able to produce enough eggs. In some cases, the ovarian reserve is diminished even before puberty is onset.
2. Fragile X - It is a chromosomal abnormality affecting the ovarian reserve, cognitive abilities and learning.
3. Surgery of a part/whole of ovary – This can occur as a result of removal of endometriosis.
4. Chemotherapy or radiation – The treatment for malignant or benign tumors caused by cancer could also affect the number.
5. Age – The pool of ovaries starts to diminish with age, thus the chances of conception reduce when the woman is above 35 years of age.

answer Mar 8, 2016 by William
+1 vote

Ovarian reserve is defined as the pool of eggs that exist in the woman's ovaries at any given time. When there is a drastic decrease in the number of eggs, which may mean that a woman is unable to conceive, it results in insufficient numbers. In most cases, it is ageing ovaries that cause the same. There are some women who have poor or almost negligible ovarian reserve but they have intact ovarian function otherwise.

What are the reasons for the diminishing numbers?

There are many women who begin their lives with millions of eggs. However, the problem is that they tend to decay before at times even before the reproduction process starts. During 35+ years of age a woman can have 25,000 eggs and by the time she reachers her menopause it can be less than 1000.

In utero, one sees a drastic multiplication of germ cells from just 6-7 weeks. When the female foetus is about16-20 weeks this number goes to six to seven million eggs. And it starts falling and by the time puberty is attained it can be anything between 250,000 to 500,000 eggs.

Also, there are 3 categories of eggs found here, which are immature eggs, dead eggs and mature eggs - ready for ovulation.

Low Ovarian Reserve Causes

Along with the age factor, other causes are-

  • The premature reduction in number of eggs is often due to chromosomal
    problems like Turner Syndrome, where she lacks two X chromosomes or
    even Fragile X issues.
  • Sometimes, ovarian tissues are destroyed because of abrasions or
    surgical removal of an ovary cyst, which may have caused ovarian
  • Radiation, chemotherapy, etc. are also causes of the same.
  • In some women, obesity or high body mass index is the cause of low
    ovarian reserves.

How can this issue be sorted?

One of the success programs that women can follow here would be IVF. Low ovarian reserve is only a hindrance in getting pregnant and doesn’t affect other health functions. So if you have low ovarian reserve and want to conceive, perhaps IVF would be the best solution.

answer May 17, 2016 by Rachel