When a woman suffers from a diminished ovarian reserve she has a condition in which she has a lower number of eggs than usual, or the viability of her eggs is so that she experiences fertility issues.
What is a diminished ovarian reserve?
The total amount of eggs (and the quality of them), held in a woman’s ovaries is a woman’s ovarian reserve. When a child is born, if it is female she already holds all of the eggs (500,000-1,000,000) that she will ever produce. The number of these eggs, as well as their quality, decreases over the years as she ages. This is the natural occurrence in the life of the egg.
DOR may also be caused by other factors such as:
- Cancer treatment
- Pre-menopausal women
Who can suffer from diminished ovarian reserve?
Women over the age of forty years are the highest risk to diminished ovarian reserve. However, women of any age can experience the condition. Approximately 30% of women who consult with a fertility specialist suffer from a diminished ovarian reserve.
Can women with a diminished ovarian reserve still conceive?
Many women that suffer from a diminished ovarian reserve can still conceive a child by undergoing fertility treatments such as IVF, often in combination with IVF medicines. A fertility specialist, called a reproductive endocrinologist, will perform a blood test on the woman in order to determine the best course of action to take and what IVF medications may help her best on her journey to conception.
What tests can detect DOR?
A transvaginal ultrasound can measure the number of follicles her ovaries contain. Another test they may perform measures the level of Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH), which dictates the number of eggs available. One test that is performed on day 2 or 3 of her menstrual cycle is to measure the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and her estradiol levels. These hormones are vital to egg production. If hormone levels are low, that can be corrected with IVF infertility meds.
These patients typically will require a higher dose of IVF medications for infertility than women that do not suffer from a diminished ovarian reserve in order to stimulate the production of their own eggs. If they still cannot produce viable eggs they can use a donor egg from another female, or even a pregnancy surrogate altogether in extreme cases.
How can you treat a diminished ovarian reserve?
The type of treatment is determined by the results of these tests, the woman’s age plays a factor in her treatment. Treatment can include doses of hormones to stimulate egg production, with some of the most successful being administered discreetly at home like with the Gonal-F 450 pen or the Follistim pen. In cases where the woman fails to produce viable eggs of her own, donor eggs may be used along with an assisted conception treatment such as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) for optimum chances of a successful pregnancy.