Ovarian Reserve

In contrast to sperm cells, egg cells are not produced. Every woman has a certain ovarian reserve beginning at birth that she uses throughout the course of her life.

The number of egg cells can be estimated by determining the levels of two hormones and by completing an ultrasound scan:

AMH (Anti-Müllerian hormone)
This hormone is produced by the cells that surround egg cells remaining in the ovary. It is the most important marker of the ovarian reserve.

FSH (Follicle stimulating hormone)
This hormone is produced in the pituitary gland and causes follicles to mature. FSH is a marker of the ovarian reserve. A high value can point to an early failure of the ovaries.

Ultrasound
Additionally, the small follicles (antral follicles) present at the beginning of the cycle can be counted (AFC = antral follicle count). A very low value is disadvantageous.

POF Syndrom (Premature ovarian failure)
If the ovarian reserve is exhausted, this is called a premature failure of the ovaries before menopause (POF syndrome).

Hormones

The following hormones play a role in evaluating the menstrual cycle, among their other functions:

Estradiol
This hormone is produced in the maturing ovaries and has a large number of functions. Among other things, it stimulates the growth of the uterine lining. The larger the follicle grows during its development, the more of this hormone is released into the blood.

Progesterone
This hormone is produced in the second half of the cycle and prepares the uterine lining for implantation. If it dips, menstrual bleeding occurs.

FSH (Follicle stimulating hormone)
This hormone is produced in the pituitary gland and causes the follicles to mature. FSH is a marker of the ovarian reserve. A high value can point to an early failure of the ovaries.

AMH (Anti-Müllerian hormone)
This hormone is produced by the cells that surround egg cells remaining in the ovary. It is the most important marker of the ovarian reserve. A low value (<1 µg/l) indicates POF syndrome.

Ovarian Reserve and Hormones
Ovarian Reserve and Hormones