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Ovarian Reserve and Fertility
By Dr. Yvonne Bohn, Dr. Allison Hill and Dr. Alane Park, OB/GYNs and Chief Medical Consultants for e.p.t®
The decline of a woman’s egg quality and egg quantity is known as diminished ovarian reserve. One culprit is age. We are born with all the eggs we will ever have and over the years that supply decreases and the quality lessens. Another culprit is premature ovarian aging or premature ovarian failure, a condition in women under 40.
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) is a hormone you can test to determine your ovarian reserve. Produced by the pituitary gland, FSH travels to the ovaries and stimulates follicles to produce mature eggs. If you have fewer follicles that do not respond to FSH, your body compensates by increasing the production of FSH, resulting in high FSH levels.
An FSH level of up to 10 is generally considered to be in the normal range. Between 10 and 15 is considered elevated. And an FSH level of 15 and above is considered high. The higher your FSH, the lower your ovarian reserve, the more difficult time you’ll have getting pregnant.
FSH is tested on day 3 of the menstrual cycle. FSH starts the ovulation process by promoting follicle growth, and the FSH level at this stage of your cycle provides information about how hard your body is working to get this process started.
In the past, FSH could only be evaluated by a blood test performed in a doctor’s office or lab. But the e.p.t™ Complete Home Fertility Kit allows you to assess your ovarian reserve quickly and easily at home. Use the testing wand with your first morning urine on day 3 of your menstrual cycle, and in five minutes you will know whether you have a normal FSH level or an elevated FSH level.
The Complete Home Fertility Kit also includes a male fertility test, which makes it the first test on the market to address the needs of both partners.
If you have a normal FSH level and you are under the age of 35, it is appropriate to try and conceive naturally for up to one year. If you are 35 or older, it is appropriate to try and conceive naturally for six months. If your FSH is elevated, if you have been trying to conceive for six months to one year (depending on your age) and/or if there are concerns about your male partner’s fertility, it is advisable to see a fertility doctor.