Fertility Blog

Ask the Experts - Predicting Ovarian Reserves

![](http://www.pacificfertilitycenter.com/fertilityflash/vol2-9/team2.jpg)**Q.** I'm strongly considering an IVF cycle. Is there any way to know how productive my ovaries are likely to be besides blood tests? I'm 38 years old. **A.** There is no reliable screening test that peeks into your ovaries to determine your "ovarian reserve", that is, how many eggs you might have available for fertilization. However, one good measuring method that we use is to count your antral follicles, which are tiny resting sacs containing immature eggs that are waiting to develop. Active ovaries continuously form these follicles - they bubble up or percolate from microscopic immature eggs to the antral follicles that are visible on ultrasound. As ovaries age, fewer of these antral follicles are visible. The antral follicle count is a powerful method of predicting the numbers of eggs; it is not quite so good at predicting embryo quality. The test is usually done early in the menstrual cycle. Ideally, we like to see 6-8 follicles per ovary, although women have been known to get pregnant even with low antral follicle counts.
Posted on October 17th, 2004

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