My FSH levels are high: what effect does that have pregnancy?
FSH is released by the pituitary gland and its function is to stimulate the growth and maturation of the egg follicles. If levels are raised, this means your body is having to try harder to ripen the egg, and the reason for that is likely to be that your eggs are of poor quality and that your ovarian reserve is low. As IVF relies on egg stimulation and collection, it follows that the lower your FSH level the better your chances.
Levels below 6 (pg/ml) are very encouraging for women hoping to undergo IVF treatment.
Anything below 10 is also considered acceptable for starting IVF.
Levels of 11-13 indicate a higher than normal level of FSH, suggesting that the ovaries are not responding well to stimulation by FSH; IVF may not be possible unless levels fall.
Levels of 14-17 will give little response, and suggest very poor egg quality.
Levels of 17 and above mean you are unlikely to respond to egg stimulation.
You should remember, however, that though a poor (high) reading indicates poor egg quality and ovarian reserve, women (especially those over 40) with low FSH levels can also have poor-quality eggs.
lowering FSH levels
High levels of FSH are not good news, as your hopes of starting IVF may be dashed. Try some of the tips below to see if you can lower FSH levels. Be aware, however, that once high, even if they come down, the outcome is not always good, especially if you are older.
Reduce your stress levels (84).
Avoid coffee and tea.
Take gentle exercise (and lose weight if you need to).
Eat foods that are good sources of phyto-oestrogens, such as pulses, oats, broccoli, and linseeds (see Steps 5, 6, and 8).
Take supplements of zinc and vitamin B-complex and essential fatty acids such as omega-3.