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High FSH and IVF
The number of eggs retrieved is the best predictor of IVF success, so not getting enough eggs even with intensive ovarian stimulation is a significant predictor of IVF failure. With high levels of FSH, this is likely because there are few eggs left. Those that are left may be of poor quality.
Age and High FSH
Something important to note is that women under 35 with high FSH levels have higher success rates with IVF than older women with similar FSH levels. This seems to be because the quality of the eggs is higher in younger women, which compensates for the low quantity.
IVF Protocols and High FSH
If you are intent on trying IVF with your own eggs, some clinics offer poor responders to ovarian stimulation something known as “flare protocol” (also called Microdose Flare, short Lupron, or short protocol). This is when Lupron, which suppresses FSH, is given for a short time then stopped. The idea is that a large amount of FSH will then be released. This will “jump-start” the follicles, leading to more eggs for IVF. This is still in the exploration phase and there is not currently a tremendous amount of evidence that is effective.
Donor Egg with IVF
At any point during this process, you may wish to stop attempting to obtain eggs and use a donor egg for IVF. This is an excellent choice for women with diminished egg quality or quantity, including many women with high FSH who have responded poorly to ovarian stimulation. If you choose to use IVF with a donor egg, the process would be the same as for any other woman, regardless of your FSH levels.