The detection of diminished ovarian reserve in infertile women

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1998 Sep;179(3 Pt 1):804-12. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9378(98)70087-0.


Women in their mid to late 30s and early 40s with infertility constitute the largest portion of the total infertility population. These women frequently undergo multiple testing, and most will require expensive and invasive therapies, including assisted reproductive technologies, with markedly reduced pregnancy rates in those older than 40. These women also have a higher incidence of pregnancy loss even after documentation of fetal cardiac activity by ultrasonography. Identifying those women who have a very low chance of pregnancy (and a high chance of pregnancy loss) with their own gametes presents a daily challenge to the practicing clinician, especially before embarking on expensive treatments. This article reviews the contemporary investigation of reproductive aging with basal and provocative tests. Women with markedly diminished ovarian reserve should be counseled on their low chances of conception with their own gametes, even with assisted reproductive technologies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / diagnosis*
  • Infertility, Female / physiopathology*
  • Infertility, Female / therapy
  • Ovary / physiopathology*
  • Ovulation Induction
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Rate


  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone