For many women, the desire to start or expand their family is a significant milestone in life. However, some women may face challenges due to a condition known as poor ovarian reserve. Poor ovarian reserve refers to a reduced quantity of eggs in the ovaries, affecting a woman’s fertility potential. In this blog, we will delve into the causes, implications, and available options for women facing poor ovarian reserve.
What is a Poor Ovarian Reserve?
Poor ovarian reserve occurs when a woman’s ovaries contain a lower number of follicles than expected for her age. Follicles are fluid-filled sacs that contain immature eggs. This condition is primarily attributed to the natural aging process of the ovaries. However, other factors such as genetic conditions, previous surgeries, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy can also contribute to diminished ovarian reserve.
What Are The Causes of Poor Ovarian Reserve?
- Age: The most common cause of poor ovarian reserve is natural ovarian aging. As women age, the number and quality of eggs decline, leading to a decrease in fertility potential.
- Genetic Factors: Certain genetic conditions, such as Turner syndrome or Fragile X syndrome, can contribute to diminished ovarian reserve.
- Medical Treatments: Previous surgeries involving the ovaries, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy can adversely affect ovarian function and result in poor ovarian reserve.
- Lifestyle – smoking, alcohol, pollution, sedentary lifestyle, processed and junk food, malnutrition etc.
What Are Its Implications for Fertility?
Women with poor ovarian reserve often face challenges when trying to conceive. The decreased quantity and quality of eggs can result in difficulties with natural conception, an increased risk of miscarriage, and a decreased chance of success with assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). It is important for women with poor ovarian reserve to consult with a fertility specialist who can provide personalized guidance and options based on their specific circumstances.
What Are The Available Options For Women with Poor Ovarian Reserve?
- Ovarian Stimulation: In some cases, fertility specialists may recommend ovarian stimulation protocols to encourage the growth and development of multiple follicles. This can increase the chances of obtaining viable eggs for fertilization during ART procedures such as IVF.
- Pooling of embryos
- Freezing of eggs at earlier age if wants to delay pregnancy
- Intra ovarian platelets rich plasma therapy.
- Egg Donation: For women with severely diminished ovarian reserve or poor egg quality, egg donation may be a viable option. In this process, eggs from a healthy donor are retrieved, fertilized with the partner’s or donor sperm, and transferred to the intended mother’s uterus. Egg donation has high success rates and offers the opportunity to experience pregnancy and childbirth.
- Adoption: Adoption is another path to parenthood for individuals and couples facing poor ovarian reserve. Adoption allows individuals to provide a loving and nurturing environment for a child in need, offering the joy and fulfillment of parenting regardless of biological ties.
Poor ovarian reserve can present significant challenges for women who aspire to conceive. However, it is crucial to remember that options and support are available. Fertility specialists can guide individuals through various approaches such as ovarian stimulation, egg donation, or adoption, tailoring the treatment plan to each individual’s circumstances. While the journey may be different than initially anticipated, it is important to remain hopeful and explore the multitude of paths to parenthood that exist. Remember, there are many ways to build a loving family, and with the right support, dreams of becoming a parent can still be realized.
To know more about fertility and impacts of stress on fertility, you can seek help from Fertility Specialist
Dr Ila Gupta
(Director & Sr. Consultant at Ferticity IVF & Fertility Clinics).