To understand what is ovarian reserve or the quantity of eggs in the ovary, let us start this way. The most eggs (approx 6-7 million)a girl ever had was when she was a 20 week old baby fetus sitting in her mom’s belly. After birth, the ovaries contain 1-2 million eggs, the reserve being highest at this time. By the time of puberty no more than 300,000-400,000 eggs are left. This is a pretty good number but the eggs degrade at a rate of up to a thousand or more every month.
Ovarian reserve is a medical term to describe a woman’s total egg pool and when it comes to infertility, this is the first parameter that a doctor looks for before starting the treatment. As women age, the eggs decrease in number and the brain then has to produce more FSH to stimulate eggs to ovulate. FSH is measured in the blood on the second day of menstruation and it is best to have FSH values less than 10 for women over 35 years of age. Elevated FSH levels are related to reproductive age and if the value goes beyond 10, it is an alarming situation that the biological clock is ticking loudly and the woman is entering a phase of decreased fertility.
AMH or Anti Mullerian Hormone is the next parameter to predict ovarian reserve. AMH is produced by the cells that support egg cells and when it goes down to 1 or less, it is an indication of decreased infertility. Women with diminished ovarian reserve usually have fewer than four follicles after stimulation with hormones. Therefore, if one is having a low ovarian reserve, especially women over 35 with fertility issues, then some supplements might help to treat the problem to some extent. The supplements like DHEA, CoQ10, Vitamin D3 and Omega -3 can improve egg quality if taken in combination with right nutrition, exercise and relaxation techniques. Melatonin is a potent antioxidant hormone which improves estrogen sensitivity at receptor sites on the ovaries and endometrium. Natural melatonin secreted at its peak at 9 pm works well for those aiming to go to bed between 9-10pm. Vitamin E plays an important role in nourishing the egg. Zinc for cellular division and iron to provide energy when the egg starts rapidly dividing after conception.
Of course, there is no guarantee that efforts to improve egg quality will work for every woman but by trying hard and giving enough time may not only improve egg quality but also maximizes overall health, making a pregnancy not only to occur but also to end up in a healthy baby.