Natural history of ovarian function including assessment of ovarian reserve and premature ovarian failure.

By Lew R.


This chapter describes ovarian anatomy and embryology in humans. The formation of the ovarian reserve is discussed, and events of folliculogenesis are described, including description of developmental events in primordial, primary, secondary, antral and periovulatory follicles. Paracrine and autocrine factors play critical roles in oocyte maturation and follicular development, and research related to the hypothesised roles of individual factors is discussed. Gonadotrophin-dependent events relating to dominant follicle selection are discussed. The two-cell, two-gonadotrophin hypothesis of ovarian steroidogenesis is explained. The clinical role of AMH is outlined. Premature ovarian failure and known associated aetiological factors are described. In the conclusion, with an understanding of the principle events of ovarian folliculogenesis, the follicular wave theory is described, and it is explained how adaptation of ovarian stimulation regimens may achieve time-efficient fertility preservation treatment options for patients with cancer.