A female, at birth, has over 6 million eggs, but these are reduced to only about 400,000 by the time she reaches puberty. Of these only 300-400 are actually released during the reproductive years.
But it does not mean all females have about 300 perfect chances at conception because fertilization largely depends upon the quality of the eggs. Given a chance, most women I know, would want to get an analysis of their reproductive health and egg quality. However, there is no do-it-yourself kit for that.
Your fertility doctor can run a couple of tests to get an idea of your egg health and your reproductive odds.
- Ovulation Testing – To test whether ovulation is happening, the doctor will look at your temperature charts. The basal body temperature usually declines a little before ovulation and rises slightly after it. Blood and urine tests are the two other methods of determining ovulation.
- Ovarian Function Tests – On day 3 of a woman’s menstrual cycle, blood is drawn to measure Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Estradiol levels. An increased FSH indicates poor egg quality and quantity. If FSH is normal but there is an increased Estradiol production, Estradiol could be suppressing the FSH levels.
- Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) Levels Test – This hormone is responsible for the production of oocytes and lower than normal levels indicate potential problems with the ovarian reserve.
- Clomid Test – While a healthy ovary requires only a small amount of FSH for stimulation, a problematic one may need much higher doses, indicating trouble.
- Ultrasound – The number of resting follicles as seen in a transvaginal ultrasound can also indicate the status of ovarian reserve. Each resting follicle contains one egg.
Age is a big factor affecting female fertility. At 30 years of age, a woman is believed to have only 12% of her ovarian reserve and at 40 years, she has only 3% of it. Given you have healthy eggs, doctors believe, it is best to try to start your family before 35.