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 out of 100 give birth
for each ART cycle using their own eggs. As women age, the live ART birth rate
To about 20 out of 100 for each IVF cycle by age
To 5 or less out of 100 for each IVF 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:
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
November 14, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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