Anti-Ovarian Antibodies (AOA)

Definition - What does Anti-Ovarian Antibodies (AOA) mean?

Anti-ovarian antibodies (AOA) are cells created by the body that attack the ovaries and developing eggs. These antibodies are often found in women with fertility issues, including premature ovarian failure (POF).

FertilitySmarts explains Anti-Ovarian Antibodies (AOA)

Antibodies are cells made by the body to fight foreign matter, like bacteria and viruses. However, sometimes the body makes antibodies against its own tissues. Anti-ovarian antibodies are antibodies that damage a woman's eggs and ovaries, interfering with ovulation. AOA are also associated with poor implantation, in vitro fertilization (IVF) failure, and poor response to hormone therapy.

Women struggling to conceive will often be sent for an anti-ovarian antibody test. This test involves collecting a small sample of blood which is then sent to a lab. The lab measures the level of anti-ovarian antibodies in the sample. The test results are then either returned as positive (contains anti-ovarian antibodies) or negative (does not contain anti-ovarian antibodies).

While small numbers of anti-ovarian antibodies are found in some healthy women, large numbers of these antibodies are often found in women with fertility issues. Women with premature ovarian failure (POF) typically have many anti-ovarian antibodies in their blood. AOA are also found in women with the following conditions:

  • Addison's disease
  • Endometriosis
  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus

Medications, such as prednisone and dexamethasone, may be prescribed to women with anti-ovarian antibodies. These medications suppress the immune system and aim to prevent the development of anti-ovarian antibodies.

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