Understanding the Difference Between Eggs and Follicles

Female reproductive is a complex system because it is the female who is able to sustain a healthy environment for developing a baby. But sometimes the reproductive organs might not work as expected and thus creates difficulty in conceiving.

Such women often require medical intervention in order to achieve pregnancy. Using Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) like, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), female reproductive issues can easily be overcome.

IVF is a set of complex procedures that involve the manipulation of egg & sperm outside of the body to create an embryo. Depending on the type and severity of fertility issues, your doctor might recommend other fertility treatments such as Intrauterine insemination (IUI) or can also recommend certain lifestyle changes.

While you undergo IVF treatment, you often hear about fertility jargon such as follicles (affectionately called “follies”), eggs, uterus, and ovaries. However, not all IVF patients understand the difference between terms such as follicles and eggs. But, if eggs & follicles aren’t the same, what are follicles, anyway?

Fertility life – Crysta IVF

What is Follicle in a Woman’s Reproductive System?

Follicles are perhaps one of the most essential parts of a woman’s reproductive system. The number of follicles helps determine the chances of conceiving naturally or which assisted fertility treatment such as IVF would work well for you.

Follicles are small sacs of fluid found on the outside layer of the ovaries and contain immature eggs known as oocytes. On maturity, when the follicle becomes of the right size, it ruptures and releases a mature egg ready to be fertilized with the sperm. Each follicle releases only one egg and some follicles may become big while the others remain small.

And, each monthly menstrual cycle a number of follicles, each containing an egg, are selected to grow and mature. However, most of this group of follicles do not reach maturity but fade away.

How many Follicles Should Ovary have?

It is impossible to actually count how many follicles any woman has in her ovaries. It is only after their development and growth that they become antral follicles and measure up to 10 mm they start appearing in ultrasound and can be counted.

On a rare occasion, if there are no eggs in the ovaries then conceiving or IVF treatment will not be able to be completed. Even though the follicles may be healthy and growing, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will produce an egg.

However, too many follicles can also lead to health complications. Such as during ovarian stimulation there is a risk to develop Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) that needs to be dealt with carefully.

Follicle size needed for IVF

For IVF treatment, it can be recommended to undergo ovarian stimulation. The process includes the use of daily injections that triggers reproductive hormones such as follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) & Luteinizing hormone (LH) to trigger ovaries to produce more mature eggs as a more significant number of eggs can increase the chances of treatment being successful. 

Usually, the average diameter of a dominant follicle is between 18 to 24 mm, which is considered suitable for IVF.

Why The Number of Follicles and Eggs Don’t Always Match

The number of follicles and eggs doesn’t need to match. It is so because some follicles are small and don’t contain eggs. Large follicles may also form cysts and do not have an egg. Therefore, it becomes difficult to differentiate between a cyst and a large follicle based on the ultrasound scan images.

Find Out More

To find out more about the follicles and egg and what’s their role in IVF or natural pregnancy, simply talk to a fertility specialist at Crysta IVF.

Crysta IVF is India’s most trusted & leading network of fertility centers, offering the best and the most advanced fertility treatments with the best medical expertise and personalized care.

Comments to: What are Follicles and How its they Different than Eggs