Whether you are opting for egg donation or trying to conceive on your own via IVF, it’s important to bear in mind that it’s not just the quantity of eggs, but also their quality that determines the success of an IVF cycle.
Out of over a million to 2 million of eggs that women are born with, only about 400-500 mature eggs have the potential to culminate into a successful pregnancy. The remaining eggs would expire on their own around menopause.
We truly understand that after all the unwanted advice you get from friends and family regarding “hacks” to getting pregnant, it might seem like determining the quality of your eggs is definitely not something in your control however, there are actually quite a few time-tested tips and remedies that are known to assist in improving the overall quality of eggs.
Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet
The importance of having a steady supply of nutrient-dense foods in your diet cannot be emphasized enough. Fruits and vegetables like avocados, berries, leafy greens, beans and lentils, nuts and seeds are all great sources for preserving egg quality. Although there are no foods that you need to avoid altogether as such however, it’s good to avoid trans-fats and preservatives and artificial additives in general. Stick to a well-balanced diet rich in fiber, minerals, vitamins, protein, healthy fats and carbs.
If you’ve ever seen an Ob/Gyn regarding your concerns about egg quality or conception, chances are you’re familiar with the role of supplements. Most health experts advise to supplement your diet with prenatals containing vital vitamins and minerals such as Vit A, Vit B6 & 12, other B Vitamins and a recommended dosage of at least 400 mg of Folic Acid.
Additionally, recent studies have found that the supplemental intake (as advised by a certified medical expert) of Dehydroepiandrosterone, more commonly known as DHEA, has been shown to improve your ovarian reserve along with boosting estrogen levels.
While stress does not trigger infertility, it does exacerbate your mental, physical and emotional well-being all of which need to be in good shape in order for a healthy, well-functioning reproductive system. There are plenty of great relaxation techniques you can incorporate in your daily routine such as exercising, meditating, deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation that are actually proven to physically de-stress you.
Body Mass Index
Ideally a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18-25 is considered to be optimum for conception. Women with a BMI lower than 18 might have their ovulation impacted due to a lack of necessary nutrients required for egg development. Similarly, women with a BMI over 25 might face the same trouble of having their ovulation adversely impacted due to increased levels of testosterone produced by their ovaries.
For maintaining a healthy BMI, it is important to lead an overall healthy lifestyle - exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet and keep yourself hydrated.
Giving up Smoking & Alcohol
As discussed previously, a healthy lifestyle is quintessential for improving your overall egg quality. That includes quitting smoking as it is known to be associated with lower fertility. Excessive smoking is a leading cause of ageing ovaries and depletion of your ovarian reserve. If you’re a smoker, try to seek professional help in order to quit.
In addition to all the lifestyle changes assisted reproduction requires you to make, if you still want to take drastic measures to boost and preserve your fertility, Cryopreservation, is a scientifically proven method to cover all your bases. Cryopreservation, or egg-freezing, is a process of harvesting unfertilized eggs from your ovaries and freezing them for later use. For a detailed study of Cryopreservation, read this post by the esteemed Embryologist, Carol Lynn Curchoe on the benefits and specific use cases of the technology.