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Your Egg Supply

How many eggs do I have?

In a recent Shady Grove Fertility survey, close to 50 percent of respondents said if they had had the opportunity to test for the amount of eggs they had left prior to experiencing infertility, they would have done so.

For women, egg supply, or ovarian reserve, is the number of potential eggs that remain in your ovaries. That quantity, or lack of, affects ease of conception and is closely linked to female factor infertility. In general, the more eggs a woman has, the better her chance of getting pregnant, whether trying with her partner on their own or through fertility treatment.

Women are born with all of the eggs they will ever have—a lifetime supply—generally around 1 to 2 million. As a woman ages, the number of eggs in her ovarian reserve slowly declines, with a steeper decline beginning around age 35. Also around this time, the quality of the eggs also becomes affected by more and more chromosomal abnormalities, until she reaches menopause, around age 50—at which point a few hundred eggs remain, potentially even less. This combination of reduced egg quality and increased age is why the rate of conception lowers over time.

Aside from age, the quantity and quality of your eggs can be influenced by other factors, such as premature ovarian failure, early menopause, and other health issues such as autoimmune disorders, cancer treatment, or surgery that involves the ovaries.

The most important thing to know is that your body does not produce more eggs, nor is there any available treatment to increase the quantity or quality of your egg supply; therefore, being proactive can make a difference.

If you're interested in "checking the pulse" of your egg supply status, we encourage you to discuss ovarian reserve testing with your OB/GYN. He or she can order a test called the Ovarian Assessment Report (OAR) by ReproSource that measures egg supply by assessing several reproductive hormones against your age in order to determine if your egg supply is good, normal, or poor. It is the first ovarian assessment that provides a consistent laboratory result. What you learn about your egg supply can serve as a baseline to compare against future tests, if necessary.

If you are experiencing infertility or interested in egg freezing, your OB/GYN can initiate diagnostic testing and make a referral to Shady Grove Fertility. Or, you can schedule an appointment directly with a Shady Grove Fertility specialist. In fact, 50 percent of our patients are self-referred. When deciding which action to take, just remember to be proactive and factor age into the equation.

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