From birth, females have a fixed-though plentiful-supply of eggs
(ovarian reserve). As a woman ages past her mid-30s, her eggs gradually
degrade, making it less likely that she will naturally conceive, or that an
assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedure will
result in pregnancy and a healthy baby.
Among American women in their 20s to mid-30s, over 35% give birth
per ART cycle using their own eggs. As women age, the live ART birth rate
Fertility drugs remain the primary treatment for women with ovulation disorders; some are taken orally and some are injected. In general, these medications work by causing the release of hormones that either trigger or regulate ovulation.
Even if you're using assisted reproductive techniques such as in vitro fertilization, fertility drugs are still an important part of treatment. Since the number and names of all of the infertility medications may seem dizzying, here are the basic facts on the...
To 2% or less per cycle in women over age 43. Many women over
age 40 choose to use donor eggs, which greatly improves their chances of giving
birth to a healthy child.
While there is no definitive test of ovarian reserve, a woman's
follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) level can be measured
to evaluate how well her ovaries are working. A high FSH level is a sign that
the body is trying to stimulate the
ovaries to make more egg
follicles, but the ovaries are not responding and
conception is unlikely.
A woman's FSH level can be tested using a blood sample: