Although women age 35 and older may have more difficulty achieving a successful pregnancy, many treatments can improve fertility. At the Fertility & Reproductive Medicine Center, our experienced specialists offer testing and treatments to address infertility related to the ovaries and eggs.
What Is Diminished Ovarian Reserve?
Ovarian reserve is the ovaries’ ability to produce healthy eggs for a successful pregnancy. Women are born with millions of eggs, but by age 35, that number is markedly lower. Egg quality also tends to decline with age, which decreases the likelihood of conceiving and increases the risk of miscarriage. In fact, one-third of women over 35 have trouble getting pregnant or carrying a healthy baby to term.
The good news is that we can provide a clearer picture of ovarian reserve. Our tests also show how well the ovaries may respond to ovulation-inducing medications. Although these tests can’t definitively predict fertility, they can help us make the right treatment decisions to maximize your chance of success.
Tests to Evaluate Ovarian Reserve
To evaluate the ovaries and help determine how well they might respond to ovulation-inducing medications, we can perform several blood tests, including:
- Anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH): This test measures a hormone produced by the follicles (sacs in the ovaries that contain eggs). A high AMH level may indicate a greater number of eggs. We can perform this test anytime during your cycle.
- Antral follicle count: Using ultrasound imaging, we are able to see the number of small follicles in both ovaries. This count also indicates the number of eggs in the ovaries. We typically perform this test during your period, or early in your cycle.
- Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and estradiol: The levels of these hormones show how well the ovaries are functioning and how well follicles (sacs in the ovaries that contain eggs) are developing. We usually perform these blood tests between days two and four of your cycle.
To make an appointment with a Washington University fertility and reproductive medicine specialist at the Women & Infants Center, call 855.925.0631.