Low Ovarian Reserve

“I have been told that I have few ovules and that they are of poor quality”

These words, or very similar, are heard daily on the street, at work, at home. The word of mouth has been misrepresenting the true meaning of a diagnosis that is increasingly common in fertility consultations: low ovarian reserve.

But what does that really mean ‘low ovarian reserve’? Quite simply, you don’t have many ovules, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that those ovules are of poor quality. Remember it, because it is a very common mistake.

In general – although there are always exceptions – the low ovarian reserve is linked to age: unlike man, who is creating and destroying sperm every day, you are born with a fixed number of oocytes and in each cycle you release them, usually from one in one. That means that, logically, as you turn years you have fewer oocytes.

Other things also happen: when the ovarian reserve is smaller, the maturation of the oocytes is usually worse, often because the activity of estrogen decreases. That is why we tend to say, erroneously, that ‘the oocytes are of worse quality’.

The good news is that this worse oocyte maturation is not something definitive, irreversible. We can compensate it by acting on the rest of the inducers: growth hormones, thyroid hormones, melatonin … These factors will influence the maturation is optimal and we can obtain a higher quality oocyte.

The age at which we are considering having children today has been delayed so much that it is very common to meet women with very low ovarian reserve and serious difficulties for conception. We can optimize those ovules that remain – flamming, using phytoestrogens, stimulating certain enzymes, with micronutrients … – and achieving their best version. Both to try a natural pregnancy and to make a treatment with MiniFIV (minimally aggressive in vitro fertilization) a success.


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