How Can We Determine Egg Quality?

Mother and Baby

Egg quality is the most critical factor required for normal fertility. Furthermore, it is the reason why women’s fertility decline will age. Consequently, it is important to determine the likelihood that the eggs in a woman are viable. With respect to IVF and Embryo Transfer, it is critical to determine the probability that the ovaries will respond to the hormones we use to produce multiple mature eggs.

How Do We Test for Egg Quality or Ovarian Reserve?

The concept of the eggs and ovaries being young enough, or too old, is a metaphor. In actuality, the tests used to determine egg quality are designed to check for 2 things:

  1. “Diminished Ovarian Reserve.”
  2. Likelihood of being a “poor responder”

By diminished ovarian reserve we refer to the actual number of eggs in the ovaries which are genetically capable of ripening properly. There is no way of determining this precisely. Our tests are indirect. They represent an indirect way of determining the number of eggs still in the ovaries and the likelihood that these eggs will mature normally during stimulation of the ovaries.

Being a poor responder means that only 5 eggs or less were retrieved with IVF. Less than 4 dominant follicles on the 6th day of stimulation is another indicator. Other criteria include the presence of less than 8 cell embryos, or greater than 20% fragmentation, on day 3. Our egg quality tests are designed to predict the likelihood of excellent responsiveness.

Decreases in normal egg physiology are primarily a phenomenon of increased aging. However, even younger women can have decreased ovarian reserve. This occurrence is usually spontaneous and unexplained.  Diminished ovarian reserve can also be seen If any part of the ovary has been eliminated at the time of cyst removal.

A remarkable fact is that only four tests are needed to determine how young or old the eggs are:

  1. FSH on day 3 of the menstrual cycle
  2. Estradiol on day 3 of the menstrual cycle
  3. Anti-mullerian hormone level (AMH) on day 3 of the menstrual cycle
  4. Ultrasound for an antral follicle count (AFC)

Call the Infertility and Lifespan Medical Institute to schedule an appointment with Steven A. Brody, M.D., Ph.D.; our Medical Director. Dr. Brody will review all of the pertinent factors relating to your fertility. All of the resources for assisted reproduction are available to help you achieve a healthy pregnancy, with the birth of your beautiful baby.

Dr. Steven A. Brody Dr. Steven A. Brody, the Director of the Infertility & Lifespan Medical Institute in San Diego, has spent his professional career providing compassionate and specialized care to help families overcome infertility. Dr. Brody has authored two textbooks, one at Stanford and one with a Nobel Prize winner at Cambridge, entitled “Principles and Practice of Assisted Human Reproduction.” Dr. Brody earned his M.D. degree at Washington University and continued his education with an internship at Yale, a residency at Stanford, and a fellowship at Baylor. Dr. Brody is the only doctor in the U.S. who has achieved Board Certifications in four distinct specialty areas including: Internal Medicine, Endocrinology & Metabolism, Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility. If you are looking for a compassionate and thorough physician who works with you to overcome infertility and treat any reproductive disorders, call the office or book an appointment online today.

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