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Friday, June 7, 2013

What are antral follicles ?

Good ovarian reserve in a recombinant gonadotropinstimulated ovary studied with 3D. The use of orthogonal planes and 3D rendering allows a much better visualization of the antral follicles. This image shows the typical asynchrony. courtesy : 

Antral follicles are small follicles ( ranging in size from 2-7 mm) which are present in your ovaries , and can be counted using a vaginal ultrasound scan during the earlier part of your menstrual cycle (day 2 –day 5). These are the follicles which develop in response to the FSH injections given during an IVF cycle. The number of antral follicles in your ovary gives a rough estimate of the number of eggs that will be retrieved from your ovaries  in the IVF cycle. The actual egg yield will also depend on the dosage of FSH used to stimulate your ovaries – and how well your doctor monitors your superovulation ! The greater the number of antral follicles , the greater will be the egg yield. A woman with a normal antral follicle count usually has good ovarian reserve and is more likely to produce a decent amount of eggs which are of good quality . This is why her chances of success with IVF are high too. Women with poor ovarian reserve tend to respond poorly to ovarian stimulation drugs , and their egg yield can be low. They have a poorer chance of success with IVF.


  1. What is a normal AFC ? How many is normal and how few is low AFC?

    1. In the field of IVF, AFC above 15 is considered as good. AFC count of more than 30 is considered to be too high and such high counts are normally found in PCOD patients. Below 5 is considered to be very low !

      This kind of demarcating AFC into normal, high and low came only after the invent of IVF. For a normal woman who do not need IVF, there is no need for worrying about the AFC count. If she is ovulating every month then there is a decent chance of pregnancy.

      During IVF, the chance of pregnancy increases if the ovaries carry more AFC. I do not know your actual problem. But if you have low AFC and of young maternal age, if you undergo IVF in some experienced center (who is able to give the best fertilization rate !) then your chance of success is still bright ! But if you are of advanced maternal age with poor AFC count, the chance of success is invariably low. Good Luck !


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