The importance of egg quality
When fertility is being discussed, how many eggs a woman has left is often prioritised, and while this is indeed part of the equation, fertility is also driven by egg quality. The decline in egg quality is a natural part of a woman’s aging. Although a woman is born with all her eggs, older eggs are more prone to containing abnormal DNA. Without healthy DNA an egg can’t make a healthy baby.
All women have some percentage of abnormal eggs and this percentage increases with age. Most poor quality eggs don’t fertilise at all. A smaller number fertilise but lead to miscarriage and a smaller percentage still fertilise but lead to genetic disorders for the baby. This is why it can take many more menstrual cycles for an older woman to get pregnant and why IVF success rates are lower as a woman’s age increases.
Fertility testing such as checking anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) levels, is an indicator of how many eggs you have left, but there is currently no test for egg quality.
So, what can you do helping improving egg quality for pregnancy?
1. Improve your blood flow
Oxygen-rich blood flow to the ovaries is essential for the health of the eggs. Blood flow can be improved by making sure that you stay hydrated with at least 6 to 8 glasses of fluid a day. Exercise also increases blood flow, as a healthy heart will help to provide optimal circulation everywhere in your body. Massage therapy and yoga can also help to improve blood flow.
2. Eat a healthy diet
Improving your overall health will also ensure that your eggs stay healthy and what you eat and drink plays a big part in this. Studies show that nutrient-rich foods such as fruit and vegetables, fish and grains can help to support your fertility. As well as making sure your diet contains healthy foods, you need to avoid processed foods, saturated fats and excessive sugar and salt and ideally minimise your alcohol consumption.
3. Incorporate fertility supplements
Many fertility supplements contain strong antioxidants which can actually damage the quality of your eggs. When choosing supplements, look for research-based supplements, clinically proven with strong evidence to support claims and superior ingredients which will be easily absorbed and processed by the body. Impryl enables your body to maintain its natural metabolic balance and is clinically proven to increase your chance to get pregnant, making it the perfect female fertility supplement.
4. Stop smoking
Studies have shown that smoking causes problems with fertility and leads to lowered fertility in the future. One of the reasons is that the chemicals in cigarettes can mutate the DNA in a woman’s eggs (making them unsuitable for conception) and speed up egg loss in the ovaries.
5. Maintain a healthy weight
A BMI of 25 to 29.9 means you’re overweight, and a BMI of 30 or above means you’re very overweight, or obese. Being overweight has been linked to decreased egg quality due to increased oxidative stress and alterations of mitochondrial function. You can lose weight through diet and exercise and this will not only increase your chances of getting pregnant but also avoid any problems associated with being overweight in pregnancy.
Stress can produce hormones like prolactin and cortisol which can affect egg quality and egg production. Happiness and engaging in meaningful activities like making quality time for your family and friends can be really powerful in boosting your overall health. There are also activities which reduce stress such as meditation, yoga or spending time with pets or other animals. It is also important to prioritise time to relax, by taking naps, resting or scheduling-in long, warm baths. Treatments like aromatherapy and massage can also help you to de-stress.