Evaluation of the ovarian reserve in young low responders

To assess the ovarian content of selectable (2-5 mm) follicles using three-dimensional ultrasonography in low responders to ovarian stimulation for IVF.

Prospective case-control study.

IVF program at the Instituto Valenciano de Infertilidad.

Ten low responders < or =35 years of age with normal basal serum FSH and eight control patients with normal response in a previous cycle.

Blood was drawn under basal (day 3) conditions. Three-dimensional ultrasound was performed in both ovaries using a vaginal probe.

Basal serum E2 and FSH measurements. The ovarian volume and the number of follicles > or =2 mm in each ovary were recorded and compared between the groups.

Low-responder women had significantly higher serum FSH levels than controls despite having FSH values within the normal range. The number of selectable follicles and the total number of follicles with an antrum were significantly decreased in low responders as compared with normal responders. Ovarian volume did not differ between the groups.

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This study introduces three-dimensional ultrasound as a novel method for the evaluation of low responders. The results show that the most plausible explanation for low response in young women with normal serum FSH is diminished ovarian reserve.

PMID: 9797096
[Indexed for MEDLINE]