A woman is BORN with all the eggs she will ever have!
Did you know that?
You are born with all the eggs you will ever have?
The ovaries are two small organs, about the size of your thumb, that are located in the female pelvis. They are attached to the uterus, one on each side, near the opening of the Fallopian tube. Your ovaries are home to your eggs, they are also filled with follicles. Follicles are fluid-filled structures in which the egg grows to maturity. Studies have shown that females are born with their entire lifetime supply of eggs!
At birth, the normal female ovary contains about 1-2 million eggs. Females are not capable of making new eggs, and in fact, there is a continuous decline in the total number of eggs each month. By the time a girl enters puberty, only about 25% of her lifetime total egg pool remains, around 300,000. Over the next 30-40 years of a female's reproductive life, the entire egg supply will be depleted
Although no one can know with absolute certainty the number of eggs remaining within the ovaries at any given time, most women begin to experience a significant decrease in fertility (the ability to conceive a child) in their late 30's. At the time of menopause, virtually no eggs remain.
The large supplies of eggs within each ovary are immature, or primordial, and must undergo growth and maturation each month. The eggs are stored within follicles in the ovary. Within a woman's lifespan, large numbers of follicles and eggs will be recruited to begin the growth and maturation process. The large majority, however, will not reach full maturity. Most will die off in a process called atresia, only about 300-500 of these eggs will mature over a women's life span.
The maturation of eggs typically takes about 14 days and can be divided into 2 distinct periods. During the initial period, many eggs, as many as 1000, begin to develop and mature. The second phase of development requires gonadal hormone stimulation to stimulate further development. However, even though hundreds of eggs have begun to mature, most often only one egg will become dominant during each menstrual cycle, and reach its' fully mature state, capable of ovulation and fertilization. The remaining eggs/follicles will wither and die. Pre-puberty girls do not produce the gonadal hormones that are necessary for the second phase of development, so the many eggs that started to mature will simply wither away. The large number of eggs that are used each month account for the steady decline in the female's total egg pool that occurs from birth to menopause.
In post-puberty females, the dominant egg continues to develop, relying on hormones for growth and stimulation. When the egg becomes fully mature, the follicle surrounding the egg bursts, and releases a mature egg which travels through the Fallopian tube toward the uterus. The egg is capable of being fertilized for a short period, about 48 hours. If the egg is not fertilized during this time, it will die, and in another week or so, a new cycle of egg maturation will begin.
This cyclic process of development continues throughout a female's life until most or all of the eggs are depleted. This is the period of life known as menopause. This occurs sometime in the 4th or 5th decade of life, with the average age in the US being 51. Depletion of the egg pool any time prior to age 40 is referred to as premature ovarian failure. This knowledge may be important to consider for family planning
Our ABORM Certified Fertility Specialist is one of only approx. 350 in the world certified in infertility acupuncture. With extensive training in both Western & Eastern medicine as well as Biomedical and Herbs, Gulf Coast Acupuncture and Fertility is ready to help you every step of the way. Infertility acupuncture can be started as soon as you decide you are ready to start a family, 3-4 months in advance you are ready to start getting your body in its nest health to start this journey. There is no wrong time to start infertility acupuncture and we can support you throughout your pregnancy and birth.
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