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From 6 million eggs to 800,000 at Puberty – How Come?

04:53 7th May 2013 | Motherhood

Mother's Womb Eggs Immature Eggs Puberty Egg Loss Conception Menopause

Sometime in ago we mentioned the decline in the amount of eggs in a female from birth to puberty on  Bridge Clinic Facebook page and this generated interesting comments. I have thus decided to shed more light on this phenomenon here.

In actual fact, a baby girl still in her mother’s womb has about 6-7 million eggs. By birth, the average woman is born with approximately 1.5 million immature eggs. This reduces to about 800,000 at puberty. This process of ‘egg-loss’ is known as Atresia – a continuous, natural-occurring course of womanhood. By puberty, the woman commits approximately 300 to 500 of her best eggs to the “race” for ovulation each month.

This process of attrition leads to a reduction in both the quantity and the quality of eggs, such that, by the time she is 35, there is a significant drop in her chances of conception. Studies have shown that the eggs that are released earlier in a woman’s lifetime have a higher energy supply than the eggs that are ovulated in her later-reproductive years.

Typically, by the time she is 51, the average woman will have run out of eggs and so, have reached menopause. Some women are born with more eggs and as such are still having their periods in their late 50s, while others are born with fewer eggs and as such, reaching menopause earlier than the age of 51. With that being said, there are a number who are born with no eggs at all, which would eventually result in them never having periods.

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