How Soon Before I Run Out of Eggs When I do IVF?

Most patients have a number of questions about the IVF treatment and one of their main concerns is that they will run out of eggs. But this is more of a fear than a fact. Read on to get a better understanding of what happens during IVF and about how this fear of running out of eggs is more of a fear and nothing more than that. I recently got an email from one of my patients in which she asked “How many unsuccessful IVF attempts does a person like me go through before AMH levels get impacted and early menopause sets in?”

This wasn’t something I hadn’t heard before; in fact, many of my patients have this concern. The IVF treatment involves pumping hormones into the body to boost the production of eggs. This is why patients feel that when they pump their body with these hormones, it will have a negative impact, regardless of what medical studies indicate. This fear is very real and is one that isn’t articulated often.

Some facts

The fact is that no matter how fearful you are of the fact that all your eggs will get used up in the IVF process, it can’t cause you to have an early menopause. Here are some facts that will help you understand this in a better way:

  • Every month, around 40 ovarian follicles start growing. This is known as follicular recruitment; it occurs as a result of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) production.
  • Of these follicles, only one matures- its why most women generally have only one baby at one time (unlike rabbits, that have a litter, because many of their eggs mature simultaneously every month)
  • What happens to the rest of the follicles? They undergo a process of atresia each month. It means that about 39 follicles "die" each month, regardless of whether or not you do ICSI.
  • In every IVF cycle, we only rescue the follicles that would have died in any case. This also means, you won’t run out of eggs sooner than you would, in case you didn’t do IVF.
  • This is exactly why the risk of ovarian cancer isn’t increased when you use these drugs
  • Superovulation drugs are essentially natural hormones - we only mimic the natural process; however, we improve its efficiency by growing a larger number of eggs at one time!

It’s a fact that some infertile women have poor ovarian reserve and they have an early menopause because their ovarian reserve is impaired. Sadly, many of these women end up blaming their IVF cycle for this; however, the fact is that they would have had an early menopause, regardless of whether they do IVF or not.

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many of them will blame their IVF cycles for this - but the fact is that they would have had an early menopause, whether or not they had done IVF ! "

Read more-Oopause - poor ovarian response

Authored by : Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD and reviewed by Dr Anjali Malpani.