Ovarian reserve refers to the capacity of the ovary to produce fertile eggs. This is an important concept to consider with patients treated for infertility, which is a growing problem. Although it is impossible to accurately measure a patient's ovarian reserve, there are techniques and guidelines that allow for a generalized guess. The most common approach involves the measuring of hormone levels, such as Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH).
Gamete production in males begins at puberty and continues their entire life. For females, the total supply of eggs is determined by birth and is depleted every year until menopause when the egg bank becomes empty. Oogenesis is the process of female creation of an ovum (egg cell). It is the female form of gametogenesis; the male equivalent is spermatogenesis.
At birth, a female has an ovarian reserve of approximately 2 million oocytes (Human Anatomy & Physiology, Marieb). By the time a female enters puberty only 250,000 eggs will remain and of that amount only about 500 will actually be ovulated for reproduction.
A lower ovarian reserve, after age 35, can be an obstacle to pregnancy. However, treatment can still be focused on balancing hormones and increasing likelihood of conception through assessment of overall health (a healthy body is a fertile body).
Holistic & Integrative Medicine