Ovarian Reserve 

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Attention for those women who are thinking of delaying pregnancy!

When girls are born, there are around 400,000 eggs in their ovaries. From birth to adolescence, no egg is produced and some of the existing eggs lose their features. The number of remaining eggs at the age of 38 is about 25,000. With puberty, a group of eggs develops to mature every month, but only one or two matures, while others perish. This is a natural physiological process. As age increases, ovarian reserves reduce and the quality of the remaining eggs is low.

In women, the probability of getting pregnant decreases as age increases. This critical age is 37 years for the ovaries. A 25-year-old woman has a 36% probability of having a baby, 16-year-old, a 40-year-old woman has a 16% probability, while a 44-year-old woman has a probability of below 5%.

Women who are thinking of having a child should absolutely evaluate their ovarian reserve in the following cases which adversely affect the eggs:

  • If you are a smoker. Smoking more than 10 cigarettes per day reduces the ovarian reserve
  • If you were exposed to radiation or received chemotherapy
  • If you have chocolate cysts
  • If you underwent a surgery related to the ovaries.
  • If there is early menopause in your family.

Apart from these factors, the use of drugs and toxic substances that increase breakdown products in the body and have a negative impact on the tissues, long-term use of alcohol and long-term use of medicines in some metabolic and immunological diseases also affect egg reserves. Women who want to protect and maintain their fertility potential should avoid the above-mentioned risk factors.

Moreover, every woman who does not have these risk factors and is curious about her reproductive potential and the condition of her egg reserve can have information with ultrasonographic examination and hormone tests.

The signs indicating decreased reproductive function of the ovaries should be kept in mind. These are:

  • Shortening of menstrual cycles. In women who previously menstruate every 28-30 days, menstruations start to occur every 20-27 days. Sometimes it may be shorter. The amount of bleeding may not change. In some women, this period is prolonged.
  • One of the signs of ovarian dysfunction is the increased number of miscarriage. This may also occur in induced pregnancies.
  • The small number of eggs that develop as a result of ovulation induction in IVF or insemination treatments. High-dose drugs are not effective in this condition and are an important factor that reduces the success of treatment and it has no treatment.

The most suitable fertility age for women is between 20-30 years of age. After the age of 35 years, the probability of pregnancy decreases, as well as the risk of gestational diabetes and toxemia of pregnancy (preeclampsia) increases. Moreover, the risk of miscarriage also increases after this age.

Women who are thinking of delaying pregnancy should first have their ovarian reserves examined at certain intervals. Smoking should be avoided. No toxic or harmful substances should be used. The contribution of anti-oxidant (reducing breakdown in the body) and supplementary products to ovarian reserve is controversial.

The partners of women older than forty years of age should have a sperm analysis first, if they want to conceive. If the sperm analysis is normal and there is no disease that may prevent pregnancy, what is necessary to do is to evaluate the ovarian reserve. For this purpose, ultrasonography and hormone test should be performed.

Today, women’s education and career plans brought along the delay of pregnancy. A significant majority of the patients in the IVF centers are this age group of patients. Women who are thinking of delaying pregnancy should certainly have their ovarian reserves examined. Ovarian reserve can easily be evaluated by ultrasonographic examination and hormone tests. This measure will prevent unnecessary waste of time and money.