Antral Follicle Count

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Antral follicle count is a type of ovarian reserve testing

At our Washington, DC fertility center, we perform antral follicle count as part of ovarian reserve testing. Ovarian reserve refers to the quantity of eggs remaining in a woman’s ovaries. As you may know, women are born with their lifetime supply of eggs. This quantity decreases throughout a woman’s lifetime until menopause. Age and infertility are directly related to a woman’s diminishing ovarian reserve, or egg supply.

What is an antral follicle count?

To understand an antral follicle count, it’s important to understand the follicle and its function. A follicle is the fluid-filled sac that surrounds an immature egg in the ovaries. Prior to ovulation, the follicle surrounding the egg that is going to be released begins to swell. The other antral follicles, known as resting or sleeping follicles, also expand, but they recede when the dominant follicle releases the egg.

When the follicles begin to expand, they are more pronounced and can be seen and counted during a transvaginal ultrasound, providing our fertility expert, Dr. Fady Sharara, with an antral follicle count.

What do the test results indicate?

The antral follicle count is one of the best ways to measure ovarian reserve. At our Washington, DC fertility center, we often combine the antral follicle count with anti-mullerian hormone (AMH) and FSH testing to get a complete picture.

The results of the antral follicle count provide important information.

  • If the number of follicles is fewer than 10 in both ovaries, it implies a low ovarian reserve and usually indicates that a woman may not respond well to fertility treatment.
  • If there are more than 30 follicles, this tells our fertility expert that the patient may have a hyper-response to hormone stimulation. This is a common finding in women with PCOS, or polycystic ovary syndrome.

Antral follicle count and fertility treatment

Antral follicle count alone does not determine how a woman will respond to fertility treatment. The count, along with other tests, serves as an indicator of ovarian reserve and not necessarily her fertility. Dr. Sharara takes other factors into account when he implements a fertility treatment plan, including: the woman’s age; her diagnosis; her partner’s fertility; her response to prior treatment; any physical issues she may have; and other factors.

At our Washington, DC fertility center, we take a very individualized approach to fertility treatment. Each patient receives the undivided attention of Dr. Sharara. The plan he devises for you will take into account all of the information he has gathered about you and your partner, including test results, such as antral follicle count. He will direct the best plan for you based on his extensive knowledge and experience. To learn more about antral follicle count and fertility treatment, contact us.