Dexeus Mujer promotes research to improve infertility options
Female infertility can have a number of causes: the woman may have reached the age of 40 (or be much older), they may have a low ovarian reserve, be in early menopause or have a poor response to hormonal stimulation treatments.
As women, are we going about planning motherhood the wrong way?
It isn’t so much a planning issue as it is a lack of information. Egg quality starts to plummet after age 36.
What does ‘ovarian reserve’ mean?
This term refers to the number and quality of antral follicles in the ovaries. In general, quality is directly related to age. The younger the woman, the higher the quality.
What kind of ovarian reserve tests are there?
A simple blood test and transvaginal ultrasound are all that are needed to count the antral follicles and detect any disorders of the reproductive system that could cause difficulties for pregnancy, such as malformations, polyps, myomas, etc.
When is a woman considered to have a low ovarian reserve?
In general, an antral follicle count below 4 eggs per ovary or 7 eggs in total (both ovaries combined) and low levels of anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) are two indicators of a low reserve.
To what extent does this affect a woman’s chances of getting pregnant?
Fewer oocytes means less chance of achieving pregnancy because there aren’t as many. If we factor in advanced age, there is also a greater risk that some oocytes will have chromosomal abnormalities.
In terms of research, what improvements will we see in the future?
We are currently leading a clinical trial with experts from Europe, Australia and Asia, investigating whether a testosterone-based medical treatment could help improve ovarian responsiveness to hormonal stimulation. Other studies are focusing on analysing genetic variations that predispose patients to a low response, in order to select drugs that improve response to ovarian stimulation, depending on the patient’s profile. In genetics and medicine in general, the future lies precisely in the development of custom treatments designed specifically for each patient.