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What do I do if I have a low egg count?

A low egg count, or diminished ovarian reserve, means that there is a low number of eggs in the ovaries. This is reflected by changes in hormone levels, for example, high Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and low Anti-mullerian hormone (AMH). A low egg count can also be detected on a blood test or ‘jelly scan’ (ultrasound scan).

If you are not ready for children yet:

    • Consider repeating your AMH level in 3-6 months to assess any change
    • Make lifestyle changes
    • You may wish to consider egg freezing so you have options later on, like in vitro fertilisation (IVF)

 

If you are ready for children:

    • Try to conceive sooner rather than later. 
    • Consider repeating your AMH levels in 2-3 months. 
    • You may wish to speak to your GP about organising a pelvic ultrasound scan. 
    • You may wish to consider IVF, fertility preservation (freezing eggs), or donor eggs from another woman.

 

Speak to a doctor 

If you have been told you have a low egg count, your doctor may be able to further investigate and identify potential underlying causes of the low egg count, some of which can be treatable. Causes of low egg counts include increased age, damage to parts of the brain responsible for secreting various fertility hormones, damage to the ovaries, or a change in the quality of the eggs.

Your doctor may also refer you to discuss various treatment options, such as IVF, fertility preservation (freezing eggs), or donor eggs from another woman.

Lifestyle changes

In the meantime, you can start implementing lifestyle changes to protect your ovaries and hormones, to increase your chances of pregnancy. Leading a healthy lifestyle to maintain a healthy weight through a balanced diet and moderate exercise has a significant positive impact on fertility, as well as many other aspects of your health. More specific actions that you can take are below:

        1. Nutrition: Eat organic where you can, as pesticides can cause hormonal imbalances and other damage in the body. (1,2)
        2. Beauty and household products: check your make-ups, creams, and cleaning products contain as some contain toxic chemicals that can decrease fertility
        3. Heavy metals: eat low mercury fish, filter your water, and avoid long exposure to car exhausts as all of these contain toxic heavy metals to be avoided. (2)
        4. Stress management: physical, emotional, and mental stress all affect hormone balances and fertility – yet another reason to be kind to yourself and practice self-care. (1)

 

Pregnancy 

Having low AMH levels gives you information about your ovaries and allows you to be more proactive about your fertility goals. 

If you do have low AMH levels: 

    • You may wish to consider repeating your test in 3-6 months time to see if extent of decline.
    • Plan for children earlier. 
    • Consider egg freezing if you don’t wish to conceive soon. 

 

If you would like more support, you can speak to our doctors at Zonas or visit your GP. 

Want to learn more about AMH? Check out the AMH article by Zonas Fertility.

References:

        1. Reyes A. How to get pregnant naturally if diagnosed with high FSH and low ovarian reserve. Fertility Mentor Podcast
        2. Burns C. Tackling low ovarian reserve. Fertility In Focus Podcast.
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