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  • Writer's pictureIsobel Austin-Little


Testing your ovarian reserve is standard procedure if you are struggling to conceive or require IVF. It helps you understand your reproductive potential and the possible quantity of eggs in your ovaries. ⁠

What are the markers checked, and what do they mean?⁠

  1. Antral Follicle Count (done via transvaginal ultrasound). This is the number of antral follicles present at the beginning of a cycle that has the potential to grow and release an egg for ovulation. The ultrasound technician will look at both ovaries and count the number of follicles measuring between 2 and 10 mm. Research has found that the number of active antrum follicles on the ovaries correlates to the potential number of eggs left.

  2. Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) (done via blood draw) is another marker of ovarian reserve. As follicles develop, they produce and release the hormone AMH. High levels may indicate a normal ovarian reserve, whereas low AMH is considered a marker of poor ovarian reserve. AMH alone may not be a reliable marker.⁠ It is also important to note that these numbers do not define your ability to get pregnant. Firstly, because it is impossible to know the exact quantity of eggs a woman has, but also because these tests do not tell you about the quality of your eggs, which, as I discuss a lot, is such a vital part of a couple's fertility picture. It is also the part that can be influenced, which is really important to remember! ⁠➡ In other words, just because you have low levels of these markers, does not mean that you cannot get pregnant. ⁠

Additional markers measured on day 3 of a women's cycle are oestradiol, which is required for ovulation to occur, and Follicle-stimulating hormone. FSH provides a glimpse of how well the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis is functioning. Abnormally high levels of FSH can be a sign of poor ovarian reserves.⁠

If you have any questions about these markers, where to get these tests done or optimise egg quality get in touch today.

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