Every woman is born with a certain number of oocytes divided between her ovaries. During her fertile period, the number of oocytes gradually decreases. The number of oocytes someone is born with varies from person to person. Through an ultrasound examination at the start of the menstrual cycle, as well as blood testing for anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH), we can determine whether the number of oocytes in your ovaries is normal for your age. The outcome of this examination may be helpful in determining which treatments will work best for you.
In the case of an ovarian reserve examination, the necessary ultrasound will take place at the start of the menstrual cycle: on the second, third, fourth or fifth day to be precise. During the ultrasound, the number of antral follicles present in both ovaries is counted. Antral follicles are follicles that have matured to the point where they are visible on an ultrasound. The number of antral follicles in an ovary correlates with the number of oocytes that are left.
Blood testing for the hormone known as AMH can be done at any point during the menstrual cycle. Inside the ovaries are follicles in different stages of maturation. The follicles in the least advanced stage of maturation are known as primordial follicles, and these are the ones that emit AMH. Thus, AMH levels provide us with information regarding the number of oocytes left inside the ovaries.