Pregnancy Success With Ovarian Reserve Testing
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a common fertility treatment used by couples who have difficulty conceiving. However, the outcome of IVF is uncertain due to many contributing factors, such as the patient’s age, underlying medication conditions, and infertility diagnosis. Doctors can monitor a woman’s egg count through a process known as ovarian reserve testing to improve IVF success.
What is ovarian reserve testing?
For women planning pregnancy, an ovarian reserve test can help to measure reproductive ability. The test can determine the number of eggs remaining, which can help the fertility doctor plan for IVF treatment that will be most effective. Ovarian reserve testing usually involves blood work to check follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), antimüllerian hormone (AMH), and estradiol levels and ultrasound to visualize the eggs.
As a woman gets older, the number of eggs naturally decreases. Antral follicle count (AFC) is a simple procedure where a transvaginal ultrasound is performed during the early phase of the menstrual cycle. This technique will determine the number of small follicles in the ovaries. Antral follicles are where the eggs develop and provide an estimate of how many eggs are present during the cycle.
Counting my eggs
Knowing the number of eggs can help patients plan for a baby with IVF successfully. A high antral follicle count means a strong ovarian reserve, whereas a low count means a couple may experience difficulty conceiving. A recent study revealed that an antral follicle count of 3-6 follicles is considered a poor ovarian response, and anything higher than 6 is more likely to result in a successful pregnancy. However, poor ovarian reserve does not necessarily mean being unable to conceive.
Analyzing test results
A low ovarian reserve test means fertility potential has decreased but does not mean a woman cannot conceive. Only 1 egg is needed to conceive a pregnancy, and other factors such as egg quality, sperm quality, and uterine health also play a role. Additionally, the results of AFC testing can vary from cycle to cycle, making predictions about overall fertility difficult.
Improving chances with IVF
Many factors come into play when determining the success of IVF. Ovarian reserve testing can help determine the number of viable eggs in a cycle but cannot predict the chances of conceiving. Based on the ultrasound findings and blood work, the doctor will create a plan to improve the chances of having a successful IVF pregnancy.