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Follicular Fluid (FF) Medically Reviewed

Last Updated: April 17, 2020

Definition - What does Follicular Fluid (FF) mean?

Follicular fluid (FF) is a liquid contained in the ovarian follicle that surrounds the egg in an ovarian follicle that offers a favorable environment for the development of eggs within the follicles while then are in the body.

Rupturing of the follicle during ovulation releases the fluid and its contents into the abdominal cavity where the fallopian tube sweeps the ovary and picks up the egg.

With in vitro fertilization (IVF), FF easily aspirates during egg retrieval and is what an embryologist searches through to find eggs.

FertilitySmarts explains Follicular Fluid (FF)

Composition

FF contains several components, including but not limited to:

Hormones

  • FSH and LH: High FF concentrations of FSH, hCG, and LH in the follicular fluid favor egg maturation and are associated with eggs carrying a high probability of fertilization. These hormones boost the egg quality, leading to better embryos, improved pregnancy rate, and successful IVF attempts.
  • Estrogen, progesterone, and androgen: High estrogen levels in the FF promote egg maturation whereas high androgen levels hinder egg maturation and impair egg quality. That said, a certain amount of androgens is still required for optimal follicular growth.

Growth factors

  • Insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I: Promotes cell growth and proliferation.
  • Anti-mullerian hormone (AMH): It is a product of the cells of the ovarian follicles. High AMH levels are a good predictor of high-quality eggs that have a high chance of being fertilized and yielding a healthy embryo.

Sugars

  • Myo-inositol: Raised myo-inositol concentrations correlate with high estradiol (estrogen) levels and both indicate that eggs are of good quality. Myo-inositol therapy is also used for poor-responders during IVF and even before IVF. It improves egg maturation and the resultant embryo quality.

Prostanoids

  • Prostaglandin: It is a recognized biochemical marker of the egg quality, as it is found at higher concentrations in the FF of follicles whose eggs have a high potential of being fertilized.
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