What are ovarian and Antral follicles?
Ovarian follicles are the small sacs found inside the ovaries of a woman and these small sacs filled with fluid and also secrete hormones. The secreted hormones influence the stages of the menstrual cycle.
During the puberty of female, she is having 300,000 to 400,000 ovarian follicles in the ovaries and each follicle has the potential to release one egg for fertilization after the completion of the menstrual cycle. Thus these ovarian follicles, their size, and status means quality is very vital for assessing the fertility and even for deciding about the infertility treatment.
Role of ovarian follicles for fertility
During periods one follicle grows to contain single egg and it gets bigger until it ruptures at ovulation and then releases the egg. This releasing of egg happens usually 14 days after the beginning of the menstrual cycle. Mostly all follicles release the egg but its maturity and quality can decide the level of fertility.
For the evaluation of ovarian follicles, doctors suggest a pelvic ultrasound scan of the womb and ovaries along with the Anti- Mullerian Hormone blood test. Through the scan, doctors can know about the size and number of follicles present in the ovaries which are called Antral Follicle count, and the blood test helps the doctor to know about the fertility level and ability to conceive.
In simple words two factors that are follicle count and the egg quality can affect the fertility of woman means if the women have the ideal count of follicles and matured eggs with high quality then women have great chances of conception.
With the growing age, quality and quality of woman eggs get affected as it started declining. In most of the cases at the age of 35, woman’s ability to conceive get decreased due to lower quality and quantity of eggs. Even the lifestyle and health issues can also affect the ovarian follicles so also affect the fertility of the woman.
IVF and ovarian follicles
There are some women that are suffering from many female infertility issues not due to the ovarian follicles but due to other causes like blocked fallopian tubes in such cases IVF treatment is possible as in this treatment conception is made possible outside the body by keeping the female egg and male sperm together under the controlled conditions of the lab.
During the IVF cycle, fertility drugs are given to induce the ovulation so that number of follicles can get matured and could release the number of eggs. Then with minor surgical treatment, high-quality eggs are retrieved maximum 15 at one time and they are kept with male sperm for fertilization and then the developing embryo has been implanted in the mother womb for a successful pregnancy.
Ovarian follicles are essential for making the dream of a baby come true either with the natural conception or with the artificial conception means with IVF.