What is a good number of eggs retrieved for IVF?
IVF, or In Vitro Fertilization, has been around for over 40 years and is responsible for millions of babies around the world. The first part of an IVF cycle involves stimulating the ovaries to grow multiple eggs. In a normal menstrual cycle, women ovulate (release) just one egg. By using hormones to stimulate the ovaries, we can grow multiple eggs which will increase overall chances of success.
A very common question fertility specialists get is “how many eggs can we retrieve?” It’s a really easy question to ask but, like everything else, the answer is far more complicated. This is because the number of eggs retrieved is very different for each woman and depends on a few different factors.
#1 – Age.
Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have. Amazingly, the total number of eggs decrease from even before birth, while women are still developing in their mother’s womb. As women age, they will have less and less eggs which means there will be less eggs to retrieve.
#2 – Ovarian Reserve.
This is a term that describe the quantity of eggs in your ovaries. Just because you are a certain age doesn’t guarantee a certain number of eggs. Two women, both the same age, can have completely different number of eggs. In other words, some women are born with more eggs and some are born with less. There are two ways the fertility doctor can determine the ovarian reserve. The first is through hormone testing at the beginning of your menstrual cycle. These hormones include Follicle Stimulating Hormone, Estradiol, and Ant-Mullerian Hormone. The second is through antral follicle counts. There are small follicles in the ovary that look like cysts and each of these follicles have an egg inside. By inserting an ultrasound into the vagina, the doctor can count the number of follicles you have that month.
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#3- Amount of Medication.
During an IVF cycle, you take hormone injections to stimulate the ovaries to grow the eggs. These hormones are called gonadotropins and they mimic how the brain naturally stimulates the ovaries. By giving women these hormones, we can often get more eggs to grow. Woman who have a lot of eggs left in their ovaries need lower amounts of hormones while women with less eggs need higher doses. Furthermore, some women have ovaries that are more sensitive to the medications than other women. So the amount of medication every patient needs is different and how each patient responds to the medications can be different too.
In general, an average of 8 to 14 eggs are typically retrieved from a woman’s ovaries with IVF; however, its ultimately not the number of eggs that matter but the quality. 1 high quality egg is better than 20 poor quality eggs when it comes to success rates.
Optimal Number of Eggs
That being said, there is an optimal number of eggs. Researchers analyzed thousands of IVF cycles between 1991 and 2008 and created a model based on age, the number of eggs retrieved, and success rates. They found that 15 was the magic number. Why 15? Women who produce too many eggs may have poorer quality eggs and women who have too few eggs might not have enough high quality eggs.
Reproductive Health and Wellness Center
The best bet is to speak to a fertility specialist in your area to determine the right fertility treatment for you. At Reproductive Health and Wellness Center we help people globally with fertility treatments. We are located in South Orange County and are the most affordable IVF and fertility clinic in the area. Offering in-person and virtual consultations, and low-cost fertility testing. Book an appointment by going here.