Improve your egg quality for a better chance at pregnancy
- In females eggs are produced during ovulation
- An egg has to be fertilised by a sperm for it to become a baby
- If the quality of the egg is not good the chances of pregnancy decreases
A girl is born with all the eggs she is going to have in her lifetime. It is estimated to be around 1 million eggs. By the time she reaches puberty, the number of eggs declines to an estimated 300,000. Out of these, a woman’s ovaries will release about 300 to 400 eggs for fertilization during her entire reproductive life .
In this article
What is egg quality and how it affects fertility?
Egg quality means the state of an egg as genetically normal or abnormal. It is the factor that determines the probability of the implantation of an egg in the uterus. The quality of the egg plays an important role in your fertility and your ability to get pregnant. A high-quality egg has the maximum chance of fertilization and developing into an embryo, implantation in the uterus and then resulting in a successful conception. Hence, egg quality is crucial for a successful pregnancy naturally and for infertility treatments like In vitro fertilization (IVF).
Quality of eggs depends on several factors like age, genetics, stress, environmental factors, etc. The quality of the egg can also decline due to factors like:
- Hormonal Imbalance
- Cancer treatment
- Genetic factors
Among all the factors mentioned above, age is one of the important factors when it comes to egg quality. Women in their 20s have more number of normal eggs than women in their late 30s or 40s. This difference in the egg quality between a 25-year-old woman and a 40-year-old woman can lead to the 25-year-old woman having more chances of releasing a healthy egg during ovulation then the 40-year-old giving her more chances of a healthy pregnancy.
Hence, if you have in your late 30s or 40s you have a higher percentage of abnormal or poor quality eggs. This means you have more chances of releasing a poor quality egg during ovulation and that is why you are or will have trouble getting pregnant. Likewise, the poor quality of eggs can, in the long run, lead to infertility, miscarriages and genetic disorders like down syndrome in the child.
How to check the quality of eggs?
If you are in your late 30s or above and trying to conceive it is a good idea to get an egg check-up to examine your chances of getting pregnant. This will help you plan your pregnancy accordingly. The doctor themselves will also give you options and treatments to help you achieve pregnancy.
There are no definitive tests for checking the egg quality of eggs but there are some tests that can help figure out the quality and quantity of eggs.
- Day 3 FSH and Estradiol Test:
Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and estradiol are measured during the third day of your menstruation cycle. FSH helps control the menstrual cycle and the growth of eggs in the ovaries. High levels of FSH can indicate poor quality or quantity of eggs. It is called a Day 3 FSH test because it is conducted on the third day of your menstrual cycle.
Similarly, high levels of estradiol (a female sex hormone) can indicate poor quality and quantity of eggs and it can also make it harder for you to respond to the fertility medications.
- Transvaginal Ultrasound:
A transvaginal ultrasound lets your doctor see the number of resting follicles in your ovaries. They are the eggs that can potentially be released during ovulation. A large number of follicles also indicates that you have a normal ovarian reserve and a smaller number means you may have problems with egg quantity or quality.
- Clomid Challenge Test:
The Clomid Challenge Test is an infertility blood test which is done to measure a women’s ovarian reserve. A doctor might also do this test if your Day 3 FSH and Estradiol test came back abnormal. Clomid is a fertility medication which you will have to take from day 5 to day 9 of your menstrual cycle. If you respond poorly to this medication it basically means you may respond poorly to fertility medications used during IVF treatment. Poor response to this test is also a sign of poor egg quality.
How to improve your egg health?
Egg health is subjected to factors including the increasing age. Once you find out that you do have poor egg quality that doesn’t mean you are infertile or you can’t get pregnant. There are many ways you can try to increase your egg quality for a successful pregnancy. You can find many natural ways through which egg quality can be improved. There are many supplements for improving egg quality available in the market as well however, they should be used under the supervision of a doctor.
What are the supplements that can improve egg quality?
Studies have been going on for years to find medications for increasing the egg quality and fertility in a woman with decreasing ovarian reserve. There are many supplements available in the market and online shopping portals that can be used to increase the quality of eggs. However, before you consider buying any of these supplements, consult your doctor.
- Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10):
Many studies show that Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) increases ovarian response and improves egg quality. A recent study with 186 women concluded that CoQ10 pretreatment increases ovarian response, oocyte quality and egg quality in young women who show poor response to ART (IVF/ IUI etc) treatments .
- DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone):
DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone) was introduced in the market as a “cure all” medicine for ageing ovaries and to enhance the ovarian reserve in women. It is also beneficial for improving egg quality. However, it also has some side effects like deepening in voice, facial hair growth, acne, etc .
Glutathione is the body’s major antioxidant and your egg quality is actually dependent on it. It helps the eggs from any damage during their early stages of development. An oocyte (an immature egg cell) with higher levels of glutathione produces healthier embryos .
What are the natural ways to improve egg quality?
There are many things that you do in our everyday life which can affect your egg health and overall fertility. Changing your overall style can have a significant impact on your egg health and increase your chances of conception.
- Include workout in our daily lifestyle:
An everyday workout routine can improve your egg health and improve your fertility. A workout is basically an easy way to reduce stress and anxiety which can have an impact on your fertility in the longer run. Doing exercise, yoga, pilates, etc can help reduce stress and anxiety and improve your egg health as well.
- Adopt a healthy and fertility-friendly diet:
A healthy diet full of nutrients that help boost your egg health and fertility is a must for improving your chances of getting pregnant. There are many fruits and vegetables that can help you achieve just that. Just include these superfoods in your everyday diet (in your curry, salad, sandwich, etc) and you are good to go. For example:
- Sesame seeds
- Avoid Alcohol:
Alcohol is associated with many fertility problems including deteriorating egg health. Hence avoid drinking alcohol or decrease its consumption. If you are trying to get pregnant, then it is advised that you should stop drinking alcohol completely.
- Try Acupuncture:
Acupuncture is an ancient form of Chinese medicine which has become quite popular for its extraordinary abilities for improving many health defects including infertility. Many doctors recommend acupuncture during infertility treatment as it reduces the levels of stress and anxiety which can affect fertility. It is also believed to be helpful in improving egg quality in women.
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List of ReferencesHide
My.clevelandclinic.org. “Female Reproductive System”. My.clevelandclinic.org, 19 January 2019.
Yangying Xu, Victoria Nisenblat, et al. “Pretreatment with coenzyme Q10 improves ovarian response and embryo quality in low-prognosis young women with decreased ovarian reserve: a randomized controlled trial”. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2018; 16: 29, PMID: 29587861.
Nikita Naredi, K. Sandeep, et al. “Dehydroepiandrosterone: A panacea for the ageing ovary?”. Med J Armed Forces India. 2015 Jul; 71(3): 274–277, PMID: 26288496.
Oyewopo Adeoye, Johnson Olawumi, et al. “Review on the role of glutathione on oxidative stress and infertility”. JBRA Assist Reprod. 2018 Jan-Mar; 22(1): 61–66, PMID: 29266896.
Last updated on: : 28 Sep 2020