What Are Follicles in the ovary and Why Do They Matter For My Fertility? 

what are follicles in the ovary

If you are trying to get pregnant, you might by now know that there are many tests to find out the possibilities if you can conceive or to check your fertility status. Did you know that examining your ovarian follicles is one approach to provide some insight into what’s happening inside?

What are follicles in the ovary?

Your ovaries contain ovarian follicles, which are tiny sacs filled with fluid and each containing an unfertilized egg. The amount of eggs and ovarian follicles you have at birth is fixed, usually between 1 and 2 million, and it decreases over time.

Your own follicles move through different phases of development. Primordial follicles first develop in a foetus’s ovaries. They stay that way until adolescence when they start growing and changing into primary follicles.

Some of these follicles start to swell right before ovulation. The others that begin to grow, known as antral follicles, will recede when one becomes dominant.

The dominant follicle releases an egg from your ovary and travels through your fallopian tube to the uterus. This egg will remain in place for around 24 hours, giving it a chance for fertilization. The cycle repeats itself every month until you reach menopause.

How many follicles in the ovary are normal?

Depending on your age, yes. Older people have fewer antral follicles than younger people do. Women in their mid-20s to early-30s often have 12 to 30 antral follicles, whereas those in their 35th to 40th years may have 8 to 15, and those in their 41st to 46th years may have between 4 and 10 antral follicles.

Your doctor might suggest specific fertility treatments, such as trying in vitro fertilization (IVF) with donor eggs if you have fewer than five antral follicles.

How are follicles related to fertility?

When it comes to female virility, there are two primary things to take into account:

  • Quality of Egg Follicles
  • Number of follicles

A fertility specialist can determine your fertility status by counting the number of follicles in your ovaries. Follicles may also contain immature eggs. These immature eggs mature and expand in size until the follicle in which they are housed reaches its ideal size, at which point they are discharged (ovulation). If you have several follicles, you may release more eggs, which increases the likelihood that one of those eggs may be strong enough to lead to a successful pregnancy.

Age and lifestyle both affect the quality of your eggs. The quality of a woman’s eggs declines with age, especially beyond the age of 35, and the majority of women typically cannot become pregnant naturally starting in their mid-40s. You cannot test the quality of your eggs, regrettably.

Do all follicles release eggs?

Typically yes. Most of the time, follicles release an egg. However, it’s a different matter altogether if the egg is mature enough or of sufficient quality to allow for fertilization.

Can you get pregnant with just one mature follicle?

Yes, you can become pregnant if you’re attempting to conceive naturally as long as the follicle releases an egg down the fallopian tube to meet with sperm. Nevertheless, it gets a little trickier if you’re getting reproductive treatment. Your age and the type of therapy you’re receiving will determine this.

One or two developed follicles are ideal if you’re utilizing intrauterine insemination (IUI) and you’re under the age of 40. Although having more increases your risk of having twins or multiple births if you become pregnant, having more may not considerably enhance your chances of becoming pregnant.

What is a follicle count test?

A follicle count test is carried out with the help of transvaginal ultrasonography. This technique test counts the number of antral follicles you have. The number of antral follicles on the ovaries is examined and counted by an ultrasound technician or physician using a probe inserted into the vagina. It only takes a little while, much like a pelvic exam.

Why does PCOS hinder fertility?

Compared to women without PCOS, women with PCOS have more antral follicles. A woman with PCOS typically has more than 30 antral follicles in total.

The hormone testosterone is produced in excess by women with PCOS, which prevents ovulation. The follicles linger out rather than going through the ovulation process because they have trouble releasing eggs, which messes up the fertility level creating a hindrance in getting pregnant.

With PCOS, getting pregnant is still possible, but it can take longer, and you might need to take specific medications, including letrozole, metformin, or Clomid, which induces ovulation. If these kinds of treatments are unsuccessful, IVF may be able to assist in achieving pregnancy.

Have more questions about fertility? Contact Dr. Ramit Kamate.

Reproductive medicine expert and Sexologist Dr. Ramit Kamate has more than 12 years of expertise. He specializes in Male and Female Sexual Medicine, Natural Cycle IVF, MTP, Pre and Post Delivery Care, Tubectomy/Tubal Ligation, Pre and Post Delivery Care, and Fertility Treatment. He treats every case with a personalized touch and ensures that every patient walks out with ultimate satisfaction and desired results.

Book an appointment for today.