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FSH and quality of eggs

4748 Views 9 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  wtg4miracle
Before I was worried about my FSH being to high. I got tested and it was really good. Level on cd3 FSH 5.6 and estrogen level is 36. So its good but heres the kicker. I have been searching about FSH levels and that with my age its not as accurate. What I read is that with my age (38) the FSH is misleading. Crapola! From what I gathered FSH level mainly tells if you have quantity but not quality.

Please correct me if I am wrong or if I am misunderstanding the data out there. I am so confused about this.
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I had though FSH was quantity. Is estrodial or estrogen the measure of quality? Or am I way off?
The one thing I remember my re saying about day 3 labs is this. For my age (39) my estradiol (e2) can artifically supress my fsh. So in that sense my actual fsh could be off because of the elevated e2 supressing it. From what I have read e2 has a pretty variable range of good/low vs not good/high level where fsh is pretty much good under 10 (except when being supressed by the e2).

One thing I have heard but not tried in regards to balancing e2 is the estrogen priming protocol. It also helps those of ama and poor responders.
From what I understand FSH levels only give a partial picture. If your FSH is elevated it indicates a problem. Levels increase as the body has to work harder and harder to get a good response from our ovaries. However, after age 35 or so, and even more so after age 40, one can have good FSH levels and regular cycles but still have a problem...our egg supply may still be fine but we have less eggs that are of good quaility. They say that is the biggest reason for difficulty conceiving as we get older. We may ovulate just fine and even catch the egg, but the egg may be harder to fertilize, it may fertilize but have trouble implanting, or it may implant but not be viable due to chromosmal issues (very common).
I know for myself that my FSH is fine, and my other hormones are in nornmal range. I ovulate each cycle based on charting/temping, and I have an LP of 14-15 days and O each cycle on cd12-cd13...all very "healthy"...but as each cycle of well timed intercourse goes by with no luck, I am beginning to believe I do have less good it is a waiting game to see if/when I can catch one of the good ones that remain.

Best of luck to all of us in catching those eggs!

wtg4miracle - Your FSH is great, as much as it doesn't tell the full story regarding egg quality, that is a very reassuring number.
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Halifax40--this is what I am thinking also. You can have great FSH, ovulate on time, cycles are consistent but the eggs are crap. So why do they even test for FHS. I seen girls get pregnant with FSH of 11 with no problem. Now with me my fsh is good and no pregnancy at all. For me it means nothing pertaining if I can get pregnant or not.

seedlings-- I also read that high estradiol levels will offset the fsh levels. My levels for estradial were low, I think. It was 36. So my fsh level is accurate. But whats the point if I have alot of eggs and all of them are not viable.

Natrualmom-I think you are right, mainly the test is for quantity and there is no way for sure if the quality is good.

Anyone else has opinion on this?
If I could answer this I would know more than most re's (which of course I do not). My fsh was always great in all of my clomid, iui and ivf cycles but for my 3 ivf's I produced at most 7 eggs, then I think 4 and then 2. I had at most 4 eggs fertilize (my last cycle was 2) with icsi (icsi used due to stubborn eggs not mfi) and they were average to less than average quality. I do know that my zona was thick and assisted hatching was also used on all my embryos. So in my experience fsh is not a true indicator or whole picture of quantity or quality. How could I produce a few eggs and have a great fsh? My age maybe? Genetics maybe? I don't know.

I think there is a large scheme of things at work. My re admits to not having all the answers and I still think it is all a crap shoot. I just continued with my re because 1. insurance covered it 2. the obvious is I want a baby and 3. nothing else was working.

wtg4miracle ~ I am sorry I don't have better answers but I hope sharing what I have been thru helps.

halifax40 ~ Very good explanation.
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Thanks seedlings and congrats on your BFP. You went through so much. Its great to see that you are pregnant and perservere throughout.

I just can't believe that the literature out there pushes for FSH levels for IVF outcomes. To me there should not be to much emphasis on FSH levels cause it seems to be a screening tool. It is shooing away couples for possible IVF when in reality they might have good eggs.

I am learning so much about this that I am totally shocked that you can have great fsh levels and not have good eggs vs very horrible fsh and have good eggs.
From what I understand with IVF clinics, they are more likely to accept a younger woman with high FSH than an older one with borderline or even good the former they assume there are still plenty of good eggs to work with...IVF stats for women over 40 are not great even when their numbers are good, so it shows more is at play than just the well results for those using younger egg donor are pretty much on par with younger women, showing it isn't because of issues with aging uterus etc.
It is very discouraging looking at all the IVF fertility stats online.
The one thing to keep in mind is that most of the compiled stats are coming from clinics where the AMA clients have often been trying for years and years with no luck and also may have other health issues compounding things...we really have no idea what over 40 pregnancy stats would be in the general population if women were not using birth control or were actively trying...years ago it was not unusual for women to continue to give birth well into their recent years the ease and effectiveness of birth control has decreased that, so the bulk of stats are generated from those seeking help, people who may have had fertility issues for years...not those who could get pregnant if they tried, but have simply stopped trying or chosen not to.
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Many clinics DO use it as a screening attract business and make money they need the best looking success rates...older women who have lower chances (though could still conceive) tend to drop their averages. Here is a VERY interesting article regarding that!:

It is a little long but worth a read.
Thanks halifax40 for the link!!
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