Ovarian reserve is a rough estimate of the number of eggs a woman has remaining for the future. Normally, a woman’s egg supply begins to sharply decline during her mid-30s, when most women experience a natural decline in fertility. But for some women, diminished ovarian reserve happens earlier in life, making it more difficult to conceive.
Several factors can cause a woman’s egg supply to prematurely decline. If you have had surgeries for endometriosis or ovarian cysts, or have been exposed to cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation, you may be at higher risk for diminished ovarian reserve. Pelvic infections and injuries to the ovaries are also linked to this cause of infertility, as are certain genetic factors, such as Fragile X syndrome. Certain lifestyle factors such as cigarette smoking may have a negative impact on ovarian reserve. And in some cases, the cause can never be explained. In more extreme cases, the ovaries stop producing eggs and estrogen before the age of 40. This is referred to as premature ovarian failure.
What are the symptoms of diminished ovarian reserve?
- Hot flashes
- Irregular or skipped periods
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Irritability or difficulty concentrating
- Decreased sexual drive
- Poor response to fertility medications
- Some women have no symptoms at all
If you are interested in extending your fertility, you should consider egg freezing. Women with diminished ovarian reserve may benefit from some supplements to help produce a healthy egg. Conceive Fertility Center also offers Mini-stim IVF for women who do not respond well to fertility medications due to DOR.