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Are all Your Eggs in One Basket?

We’ve gotten a few questions about egg development this week.

Here are the questions, followed by the answers:

1. How many eggs do I have?

Women are born with all of the eggs (oocytes) that they will ever have. In fact, approximately 20 weeks before a female child is delivered, she has about 15-20 million eggs in her ovaries. Under normal conditions, this number falls to around 6-7 million by the time of birth and 300,000-500,000 around the onset of puberty. By age 40, the typical adult woman will only have approximately 10,000 eggs remaining in her ovaries.

2. How many eggs normally develop each month?

Contrary to popular belief, more than one egg develops during each menstrual cycle. The younger the woman, the more eggs develop, such that teenagers may well have over one hundred eggs start developing each cycle. Through a very complex process, most of these eggs die off before they mature, and only one egg actually achieves maturity and ovulates. It appears that the same number of eggs develop over time – regardless of whether a woman takes birth control pills, fertility medications, or nothing at all. In other words, just like birth control pills will not prolong a woman’s reproductive life and cause menopause to be delayed, there is no solid evidence that fertility medications will cause her to use up her eggs any faster and enter menopause any sooner.

For more information on this subject, please check out the female fertility evaluation section of our website at http://www.txfertility.com/03female-infertility.php

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