What's an Ideal Number of Follicles for IVF? By Sonja Kristiansen, MD on April 16, 2015

A man and a woman in the delivery roomThe team here at Houston Fertility Center has achieved exceptional results through advanced fertility treatment, allowing patients to start the families that they have always dreamed of having. In many cases, this is achieved through in vitro fertilization (IVF), an effective treatment for male and female infertility.

A crucial phase of IVF treatment is known as ovulation induction, and it involves the development and viability of follicles within the ovaries. Let's go over this in a bit more detail, with a focus on the ideal number of follicles for IVF.

Defining Terms: What is a follicle?

A follicle is the sac filled with fluid in which an immature egg develops. These follicles are located in the ovaries. When a follicle finally reaches an ideal size, ovulation occurs, which results of the rupture of a follicle and the release of the egg from the ovary.

Why are follicles important for in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment?

During in vitro fertilization (IVF), it's important for fertility specialists to monitor the number and size of follicles as they are developing in order to ensure optimal results. Fertility drugs are used in order to promote the growth of follicles and then to trigger ovulation and the release of viable eggs.

What is the average number of follicles during in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment?

Ideally patients will want to have around 10 follicles before ovulation is triggered with fertility drugs. It's possible for the process to be performed with fewer than 10 follicles, and success can still be achieved.

It's possible for there to be too many follicles. Some patients have 20 and sometimes more follicles developing as a result of fertility drugs, though fertility specialists may avoid inducing ovulation in such cases to prevent ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).

What affects the number of follicles that develop?

A host of physiological and environmental factors can have an effect on the number of follicles that develop. A woman's response to fertility medications can similarly impact the number of follicles that are present.

Considering the Size of Follicles

For the follicles to be mature and viable enough to trigger ovulation, they should ideally be close or closer to 20mm in size. Your fertility specialist will use his or her discretion when determining if the follicles are mature enough to continue with the IVF process.

Is in vitro fertilization (IVF) success likely with only a few follicles?


Even though the odds may technically be lower, having fewer than 10 follicles can still yield excellent results depending on the quality of the follicles.

Considering Quality as Well as Quantity of Follicles

The ultimate concern for all fertility specialists isn't the number of follicle per se but rather the overall quality of the follicles and the eggs that they yield. Sometimes patients have fewer follicles but they are larger in size and more likely to result in successful fertilization and pregnancy.

During your consultation process with our team, we will be sure to go over all of these matters in greater detail so that you are able to make a well-informed and confident decision about all of your fertility treatment options.

Schedule a Consultation at Houston Fertility Center

If you would like more information about in vitro fertilization (IVF) and how it can help you start the family that you have always wanted, contact our team of fertility specialists today. The team here at Houston Fertility Center looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you make the smartest choices when it comes to your fertility treatment options.

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Dr. Sonja Kristiansen

Houston Fertility Center

Dr. Sonja Kristiansen is the founder and Medical Director of Houston Fertility Center. She is a board-certified Reproductive Endocrinologist Infertility (REI) specialist who is proud to help hopeful parents fulfill their dreams of having children. Our center is affiliated with the:

  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • American Society for Reproductive Medicine
  • Texas Medical Association

We provide convenient care for patients from greater Houston and visitors from out of town. For more information about our services, contact our office online or call (713) 225-5375 today.

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