How many eggs are not enough?

Updated: Mar 11

There has been a question asked very often on IVF pages and forums all over the world: how many eggs are needed for IVF and what is the inferior limit?

One of the big paradoxes of this IVF with Diminished Ovarian Reserve thing is this: most of the REs recommend DOR/POF patients to hurry and do IVF cause "they are running out of time (and eggs)" The RE's also say that for IVF to be successful, the more eggs, the better. We all know from our own personal experience that DOR/POF patients have anything but many eggs. So how do you marry DOR and IVF with the "many eggs needed" approach? Well, you don't!

Medically assisted procreation, besides being an amazing science that helps women fulfil their dreams of becoming mothers, is also a business for many private fertility clinics worldwide. Do we as patients benefit in the end? Sometimes we do, and when we get to hold our miracle babies we forget all the bad and focus on our successful outcomes.

But what about the ones that don't fit? Clinics, especially private ones, have to keep en eye on their success rates. Therefore they favour the convenient patients. The younger couples with male fertility issues, the patient with bad tubes or no tubes at all, the pcos patient. And what the DOR, the POF, the over 40 patient? We can't be put on birth control cause it's suppressive, we don't fit in batches cause our periods are irregular, our FSH is high, our response to meds is under average and we certainly don't raise the success rates of any clinic with our 2-3 eggs retrieved.

And that's why I am focusing on empowering women to stand up for their rights and ask for what they truly deserve: a tailored made medical approach. When you buy shoes, you don't go in a shoe shop that sells only size 7 shoes, cause you might be wearing a 5, an 8 or even a 10! You won't buy size 7 shoes if you're wearing a 9, right? You pay for them, you might as well get some shoes that fit you well! Do you pay your fertility clinic? You do! Do you have to accept whatever a clinic serves you, without the right to ask for something else, or to go somewhere else to someone who cares to work for and with you? You don't. That's why I encourage you ladies to keep up looking for the good clinic and the good Reproductive Endocrinologist. The ones who care less about success rates and more about the patient. Who provide tailor made treatments and treat you like an individual, not like a statistic. There are doctors like this out there! Some of us have been lucky to have found them, although more often then not, not from the first try. There are the doctors who don't choose their patients based on the number of eggs they produce. The ones that give DOR a chance. The ones that are not afraid of low stims and natural IVF, the ones that retrieve two eggs, or maybe just one, without adding frustration upon frustration on a woman already having to deal with the disappointment of not being able to get pregnant in the first place.

So to answer the question: what is the inferior limit for ivf and how many eggs do we have to have? Well ... certainly 15 eggs have a better chance of success than 1 egg only, it's a matter of numbers and of narrowing down the chances to the best one. But that doesn't mean that 1 egg shouldn't get the opportunity of a chance! Of course that with one egg chances are about the same as with IUI, but let's not forget IUI is not always an option, and for couples who absolutely need IVF, one egg should be given just about the same credit as more eggs. We should all be given our chance, and the right to follow our dreams. Let us never forget that!

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