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How Many Eggs Do I Have?

If only women could replenish their ovarian reserve by running to the grocery store and picking up a carton of eggs. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. And what’s worse is that once a woman’s eggs are gone, they’re gone.

So How Many Eggs Does a Woman Have Throughout Her Lifetime?

Let’s start at the beginning. That is, with a fetus. It may be shocking to know that a fetus starts with around 6 million eggs. However, by the time that ‘baby’ reaches 40, only 10% of her eggs will remain. At menopause, a woman will only have around 25,000. So how and why does this happen? And what does this mean for your fertility chances? In this article, we break down a female’s egg count by the ages.

Egg Count of a Fetus and at Birth

As we mentioned, a fetus has around 6 million eggs. These eggs, called oocytes, are steadily reduced when that baby is born, she only has 1 to 2 million eggs left.

No new eggs are produced after the fetus stage.

Before Puberty

Only about 300,000 eggs remain by the time a female with ovaries reaches puberty, as prior to puberty more than10,000 eggs die each month.

Of the 300,000 eggs before puberty, only around 300 to 400 will be ovulated during a woman’s reproductive lifetime.

After Puberty

Finally, some good news! After puberty, the number of eggs that die each month actually decreases. Each month, one egg is selected by your body to become the dominant follicle. This follicle contains the one egg that is ovulated that month and represents your one chance to conceive. (Although in some cases there are exceptions, resulting in fraternal twins.) The eggs not chosen as the dominant follicle die off.

Every month, you ovulate one egg and the rest die, and that cycle continues until menopause when there are no eggs left.

In Your 30s

Fertility begins to decrease anywhere from age 28 to 32. After age 37, it declines more rapidly so that by the time you reach 40, you’re likely to be down to less than 10% of your pre-birth egg count.

In Your 40s

There is no definitive answer when it comes to determining how many eggs you have left when you hit your 40s. Because certain factors, like smoking, can reduce your number of eggs, there is no one-size-fits-all.

Research has shown that the average woman has less than a 5% chance of getting pregnant per menstrual cycle in her 40s.

Also taken into account is that, while the average age of menopause is the U.S. is 51, some women will reach menopause earlier. After menopause, a woman has less than 100 eggs left, making the chances of getting pregnant very slim.

What Does This Mean for Fertility?

While these statistics, give you a general idea of how many eggs a woman has during different stages of her life, they are simply generalizations. There are certain risk factors, such as smoking, chemotherapy and radiation, that can cause a faster rate of egg loss. If you’re in a higher risk category, you may have fertility concerns or may even experience early menopause or ovarian failure.

Know Your Egg Count

So, how many eggs do you have? That question is one that should be given much consideration if you’re planning on conceiving. Thankfully, our OB/GYNs can help you determine your ovarian reserve. By knowing your egg count, you can better prepared for future decisions.

Make an Appointment Today

Our compassionate OB/GYNs are here to help you. Make an appointment today for preconception counseling by calling 770.720.7733 or simply schedule an appointment online.