What Does Low Ovarian Reserve Really Mean?

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When you are trying to become pregnant, one of the most important things is the health, quality and age of your ovaries and eggs. This is referred to as your ovarian reserve. As a woman ages, these reserves become less and less due to her age. Eventually, her body will go through menopause, which makes pregnancy impossible.

In order to ensure that your eggs and ovaries are healthy enough to produce and maintain a pregnancy, it then becomes important to understand your ovarian reserve and how that correlates with your ovulation cycle. The information below provides more information regarding both.

1. Fertility and Ovarian Reserve: Checking Your Eggs

It is possible to test or measure your ovarian reserve on your own in order to see if your reserve is healthy or if it has been diminished. One item that can help you with this testing process is FSH Tests. These tests can help determine if you have any issues or problems with your ovarian reserve.


Typically you take FSH tests on cycle day three through cycle day five. These tests can give you valuable information in regards to your ovarian reserve and egg quality. This may help you understand if your ovarian reserve has been diminished early or if you are nearing menopause.

2. Elevated FSH

If you see elevated levels of FSH when you are using these tests, this may be a sign that there are issues with your ovarian reserve. If you are over the age of 35 and have been having issues with fertility, taking an FSH test is a good idea.


It may be extremely important if you have certain health conditions, such as one ovary or are showing symptoms of menopause or peri-menopause. Some women who have a history of early menopause in their family may also find that these tests are beneficial.

3. Ovulation Facts

After ovulation, the ovum only survives for about 12 to 24 hours. After 24 hours, it will disintegrate unless fertilization occurs. For this reason, fertilization is required during this time frame and will not be possible once it has passed.

Only one egg is released during ovulation and it can be released from one of the two ovaries. If an egg does become fertilized, it will usually become implanted six days or more after ovulation. Women are all born with oocytes that they will carry for the rest of their lives. However, the quality and quantity of the ova decrease as they age.

When speaking of ovarian reserve, you are referencing the number of eggs that can be fertilized that you have remaining in your body. By taking an FSH test, you may be able to learn more about your ovarian reserve as well as how close you are to menopause.


Ovulation is not required for a menstrual period to begin. For this reason, it is best to keep track of your ovulation cycle by using a basal thermometer so that you will know if you have ovulated properly or not. You can track this daily by using fertility charting. You may also notice pains that occur just before and during ovulation. It is a good idea to note these pains on the chart as well.

Irregularities may be caused when stress, illness, insomnia and physical health issues cause changes to the balance of your hormones. Excess weight can also prevent a cycle from occurring regularly and may keep you from ovulating properly as well.

4. What are your Odds of Conceiving?

There are many things that may determine your chances of conceiving from one month to the next. It is best to chart your ovulation cycle so that you can increase these chances. Age and health also play a role in the health of your ovarian reserve as well as your chances of becoming pregnant.

Portrait of a beautiful middle aged pregnant female smiling on the couch

Typically, you have about a 15 to 25 percent chance of becoming pregnant from one month to the next. Usually it takes about six months for a healthy couple to become pregnant. After you reach the age of 30, your chances of conceiving do decrease and it is suggested that you speak with your doctor if you have been trying for nine months to a year and have been unsuccessful in becoming pregnant.

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Larissa Belanger, RN

Ms. Belanger has 20 years of experience in women's healthcare and nursing, including labor and delivery, postpartum and antenatal. She is passionate toward improving both maternal and fetal outcomes of high-risk obstetrics patients.