• Rebecca Genuis

Low ovarian reserve

Often times, women who have been struggling with infertility come to me with a diagnosis of low ovarian reserve - meaning that the number of eggs in their ovaries is on the lower end.

Females generally have 1-2 million eggs at birth, 300,000 - 500,000 as they enter puberty, and closer to 1,000 around age 51.

Various blood markers can be tested to assess for ovarian reserve. When they are low, this is most commonly attributed to age, but can certainly be present in younger women. Little is generally offered to explain why this occurs, but a new paper is shedding some light on why women may find themselves with lower numbers of eggs leading to trouble conceiving.

A group of Swedish women were assessed to determine their ovarian reserves as well as their body burden of 31 different persistent organic pollutants (POPs) - chemicals that many are exposed to on a daily basis and are resistant to degradation in the environment.

The authors concluded that POPs that were lipophilic - meaning chemicals that store in fat tissue, and are difficult for the body to eliminate on its own - were associated with lower ovarian reserve and infertility.

Becoming aware of where you may be exposed to these compounds is an important first step for protecting your current and future fertility. Stay tuned for more info on how to avoid these common exposures

Björvang, R. D., Hassan, J., Stefopoulou, M., Gemzell-Danielsson, K., Pedrelli, M., Kiviranta, H., Rantakokko, P., Ruokojärvi, P., Lindh, C. H., Acharya, G., & Damdimopoulou, P. (2021). Persistent organic pollutants and the size of ovarian reserve in reproductive-aged women. Environment International, 155, 106589. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2021.106589