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Will Fertility Drugs Work if I Have High FSH?


Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) is a hormone that stimulates follicles (the sacs within your ovaries that contain eggs) to grow. If you have a low supply of follicles, and they do not respond to FSH, your pituitary gland tries to compensate by increasing FSH production every month, resulting in elevated FSH levels.

In general, a cycle day 3 FSH level of less than 10 is considered normal, and an FSH level of 15 or more is considered high FSH. However, you should talk to your fertility doctor about how he or she is interpreting your results, because doctors may interpret the results differently.

If your FSH is considered normal, you would be expected to respond well to ovarian stimulation with fertility medications. If your FSH is slightly above normal, your response to fertility drugs may be normal, or it may be somewhat reduced.

In general, you see less and less response to ovarian stimulation the higher your FSH level. You also begin to see significant reduction in live birth rates, that is, the number of babies actually born after treatment with fertility drugs. There is an FSH level (which varies by clinic) above which virtually no response would be expected to ovarian stimulation with fertility drugs.

If you have high FSH levels and decide to try using fertility drugs, you should understand that, despite high levels of medications, you might not be able to produce very many eggs. This is because the follicles are simply not capable of producing eggs (or a reasonable number of eggs).