The ovary: from conception to death
Jacques Donnez, M.D., Ph.D., Marie-Madeleine Dolmans, M.D., Ph.D.
At the dawn of human life, the ovary was intended to function for the entire lifetime of a woman. Indeed, at that time, life expectancy rarely exceeded 35 years while nowadays it is not unusual for women to live into their 80s. So, is it possible for a natural ovary to go on functioning until death? With potentially several million oocytes residing in each ovary at mid-gestation, could it not be feasible to prolong the function of the ovary until the end of life? Let us return to the conception period and analyze the evolution of the ovarian reserve.