Diminished ovarian reserve and infertility
Female babies are born with a lifetime’s supply of eggs already in their ovaries, and that number of eggs naturally declines from birth throughout her fertile years. Normally, a woman’s egg supply begins to be sharply depleted during her mid-30s, when most women experience a natural decline in fertility. But for some women, diminished ovarian reserve happens earlier in life, making it more difficult to conceive.
Several factors can cause a woman’s egg supply to prematurely decline. If you have had surgeries for endometriosis or ovarian cysts, or have been exposed to cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation, you may be at higher risk for diminished ovarian reserve. Pelvic infections and injuries to the ovaries are also linked to this cause of infertility, as are certain genetic factors, such as Fragile X syndrome. And in some cases, the cause can never be explained.
Testing and treatment for diminished ovarian reserve
If you have had trouble conceiving on your own, your Manhattan fertility specialist will order fertility testing to determine if diminished ovarian reserve might be a factor in your inability to get pregnant. Based on the results of these tests, your doctor can make informed decisions about which fertility treatments would be most effective in helping you achieve a successful pregnancy or preserve your future fertility.
Unfortunately, diminished ovarian reserve is an irreversible condition. However, effective fertility treatment options have helped countless women get pregnant and have a baby.
- In vitro fertilization (IVF). Your fertility specialist can calibrate your IVF medications to maximize the response from your ovaries, producing multiple eggs that can be fertilized in a laboratory to create embryos. We will likely transfer a single embryo to your uterus, and remaining embryos can be frozen for future pregnancy attempts.
- IVF with donor eggs. For women who are already in menopause or who are diagnosed with a very low egg supply, pregnancy can be achieved using the same process as IVF, but with eggs generously provided by an egg donor.
Fertility preservation treatment can help women who are diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserve at a younger age who want to delay motherhood until later in life. Egg freezing allows a woman to protect her future fertility by using the IVF process to extract and cryopreserve multiple eggs, which can be thawed and fertilized to create embryos whenever the time is right to try for pregnancy.
Get tested now
Because diminished ovarian reserve requires prompt treatment to maximize the chances of pregnancy, it’s important to get tested early. If you are older than 35 and have been trying to conceive for six months, it’s time to make getting tested a priority. If you’re younger than 35 and have been trying for a year, don’t wait any longer to make an appointment.