The quantity of eggs (or follicles) in a woman's ovaries is assessed by ovarian reserve testing. The test also determines how many of those eggs are developed and prepared for release into the body.
If one or more of your ovaries don't release enough eggs each month, you may have ovulatory dysfunction, which can be identified by the test. It might also show whether your ovaries are storing an excessive number of immature eggs, which can cause infertility or other issues with egg production.
Why do I need to test my ovarian reserve?
To assess your overall reproductive health, ovarian reserve testing is utilised. It is helpful for:
Figure out if your ovarian reserve is normal or low
Finding out why you might not be ovulating naturally
Identifying the causes of your ovarian cancer risk
How is the test performed?
AMH (Anti Mullerian Hormone): The cells in a woman's ovary's follicles—the egg-containing sacs—produce the anti-mullerian hormone. A high AMH level indicates that there are many follicles, which means there are many eggs. The amount of eggs a woman produces declines with age, and so do her AMH levels. This blood test is convenient and provides a reliable estimate of the quantity of eggs.
FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone): The pituitary gland (in the brain) secretes FSH, which is what causes the eggs in the ovary to mature. On the second or third menstrual cycle day, a blood sample is taken for this test. High levels of FSH, in contrast to AMH levels, signify a poor ovarian reserve, whereas low levels of FSH signify a healthy ovarian reserve.
Estradiol: Along with FSH, estradiol is tested. It is a crucial type of oestrogen that stimulates the production of healthy eggs in a woman's ovaries. A problem with the egg number or quality may be indicated if the E2 test results reveal high amounts of estradiol.
AFC (Antral Follicle Count): AFC measures both the amount and quality of eggs, making it likely the best indication of ovarian reserves. In the ovaries, antral follicles are home to immature eggs that have the potential to mature into mature eggs. The quantity of antral follicles can be counted precisely using a vaginal ultrasound. Low AFC indicates a poor reproductive potential, while high AFC suggests a healthy ovarian reserve.
Although ovarian reserve testing does not provide the conclusive evidence of infertility, a shift in hormone levels that is visible can help healthcare practitioners in formulating a treatment strategy.
Consult your doctor
Women over 35 with abnormal test findings are candidates to use donor embryos. It's crucial that your doctor has your case reviewed by a fertility expert who specialises in working with older people who are trying to get pregnant if you're over 35 and have been recommended IVF or IUI. A vital component of the diagnosis and subsequent treatment in this case is the evaluation of the ovarian reserve.
Speak with your OB-GYN if you require additional details. Having fewer eggs or eggs of lower quality are two prevalent reasons for infertility in women. Your doctor can offer treatment recommendations and guidance on starting a family to help you with this issue.