What are Follicles and How Many Do You Need for IVF?
The IVF process can be emotionally, financially, and physically stressful. In addition to these stress points, there is also a learning curve, as there are many new medical fertility terms related to IVF treatments that most people do not understand initially. One of these terms, follicle, is a term that you will hear again and again as you begin IVF treatment.
A follicle is a sac filled with fluid in which an immature egg develops. Follicles are located in the ovaries. When a follicle grows to an ideal size, ovulation occurs, which results in the rupture of a follicle and the release of an egg from the ovary.
The stimulation must result in a minimum of 3 mature (or close to mature) follicles (follicles are mature if they are 16-20mm in average diameter on the day of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), where a shot is administered to stimulate ovulation). Alternatively, if there are 2 follicles 16-20mm and at least 2 more that are 13-15mm, an egg retrieval can be done.
Don’t worry too much about your follicles and the amount of follicles you have. Let your doctor be the one that takes care of that aspect of your treatment. Avoid “Googling” medical information, because it can make you worry more. Instead, have conversations with your doctor to ease your mind, and trust their medical expertise as it will help you along your journey.
It can help ease your mind to understand IVF terms so that you understand what your treatment team is saying to you. It is important to ask questions early on when you don’t understand what a term related to your treatment means. If you would like to talk to a specialist about infertility, please email us or reach out to our Houston clinic or Dallas clinic.