Ovarian follicles are sacs that are filled with fluid and are present inside the ovaries. They store the undeveloped eggs until they began to ovulate. Ovarian follicles also produce hormones that are responsible for different stages of menstrual cycle. To assess the fertility of a woman, follicles and their size are also assessed.

To assess ovarian follicles, a pelvic ultrasound is performed. This scan helps to know the size and the number of follicles present in the ovaries.

What is the Significance of Ovarian Follicles?

Ovarian follicles play a major role in the reproductive health of a woman. The ovarian follicles are helpful in the following ways:

  • They protect the unmatured eggs
  • Produces hormones required for regulating the menstrual cycle
  • Nourishes eggs until they began to ovulate

Different Stages of Ovarian Follicle Development

The lifecycle of ovarian follicles begins from the day a child is even born. But many people have a misconception that the ovarian follicles lifestyle begins and ends with the menstrual cycle. 

The following are the different stages of follicle development:

  • Primordial follicles: It is the earliest stage of follicles. These are present within the ovaries of a newborn baby and are surrounded by a layer of granulosa cells.
  • Primary follicles: As the follicles grow, they move to the primary follicles stage based on the growth of granulosa cells.
  • Secondary follicles: As follicles grow, they move to the secondary follicles where theca cells develop.
  • Tertiary follicles: These are also called as antral follicles where fluid-filled sac called an antrum grow inside the follicles.
  • Graafian follicles: It is the stage where the follicle has grown enough to ovulate. Graafian follicles are also known as dominant follicles.
  • Corpus luteum: Corpus luteum forms when the graafian follicles break and release eggs.

What is the Role of Ovarian Follicles in Fertility?

The ovarian follicles are the basis for the development and ovulation of an egg. If the ovarian follicles do not develop well, fertilization and ovulation become difficult. In terms of fertility, the release of an egg from the graafian follicle is key during ovulation.

Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) are important for the development of ovarian follicles. FSH hormones promote the growth of follicles and LH hormones stimulate ovulation. Hence, both hormones are important for the development of eggs and ovulation.

Ovarian follicles also release estrogen, which is important to prepare the uterus for implantation by thickening the uterus lining. Estrogen hormones help create a suitable environment for pregnancy.

How Many Follicles are Considered as Normal?

This is based on various factors such as your age, overall health, lifestyle, etc. Even if you have a greater number of follicles, fertilization may not be successful. Whereas some women who have fewer ovarian follicles can still conceive. Egg quality plays a major role in fertilization.

Is Fertility Affected by Ovarian Follicles Growth?

Failure to ovulate is one of the causes of infertility in women. Hence, women who are planning for pregnancy need to have a blood test to measure their hormone levels. As women get older, fertility and ovarian follicles get affected due to the following:

  • Releasing eggs from ovaries becomes difficult
  • The number of eggs to be released decreases with age
  • The health of eggs gets affected and fertilization becomes difficult

Factors Affecting Your Chances of Conception

The following two factors are considered to determine your chances of conception:

  • Number of follicles: The follicles contain immature eggs and they are held in follicles until they grow to an optimum size. Once they reach an optimum size, the egg gets released and ovulation takes place. If you have a greater number of follicles, then more eggs get released and the chances of pregnancy are also high.
  • Egg quality: As you get older, the quality of eggs starts declining. The quality of eggs starts declining after 35 years of age and conceiving naturally may become difficult.

If you are planning for pregnancy, it is important to get your fertility evaluation done to know your chances of conception.

Planning for Pregnancy and Looking for Assistance? Meet Doctors at Angels Fertility Center Today

If you are planning for pregnancy and want to know about your fertility, visit Angels Fertility Center today. We have a team of fertility specialists and gynaecologists who can treat fertility issues in both men and women. We adhere to the highest levels of care and quality in the medical field. We also ensure to offer the greatest healthcare services at a reasonable cost. We will take care of everything and you can just sit back and relax. To talk to one of our fertility doctors, call us today.