How to Increase Egg Quality to Get Pregnant
If you've been told you have “old eggs” or “poor egg quality”, your fertility doctor may have told you the only way to get pregnant is with donor eggs. Devastated by this news, can you even consider getting pregnant with your own eggs? Absolutely! Even with a diagnosis of "poor egg quality", you may still be able to get pregnant with your own eggs.
As you age, your cells are more likely to become damaged. This is true for egg cells as well as cells you can see, like skin and hair.
However, measures can be taken to protect your cells. You use sunscreen to prevent damage to your skin cells from UV rays.
Similarly, your egg cells can be safeguarded from harm with simple lifestyle changes.
Some of this damage can occur when the DNA replicates as the egg cell matures and gets ready for ovulation. This results in abnormal chromosomes in an egg, preventing fertilization. Abnormal chromosomes is the root cause of problems with getting pregnant for many women as they age.
What does “Egg Quality” mean?
Every woman, no matter their age, has a percentage of their egg cells that are abnormal. But that percentage increases considerably after age 37.
When fertility doctors and researchers talk about ‘poor egg quality’, they are usually referring to the chromosomal abnormalities in older egg cells.
How do I know my egg quality?
Currently, no test can measure egg quality directly. This just isn’t something that you can quantify as with ovarian reserve or hormone levels.
Instead, age is the best predictor of problems with egg quality. That is why it is even more important as you age to do everything you can to prevent poor egg quality.
Beyond the strict definition of chromosomal damage causing poor egg quality, there is also a lot you can do to enhance the overall health of the egg cell.
When we talk about improving egg quality:
- some of the solutions will improve the odds of having an egg with normal DNA - and -
- some of the solutions will also enhance the health and quality of the egg cell.
How long does it take to improve egg quality?
Egg quality cannot be fixed after you ovulate. Instead, you need to prevent the DNA damage.
This isn’t a ‘quick fix’ but rather a way to improve the follicle cells before they develop into the final egg cell for ovulation.
The window for improving egg quality is two to four months before ovulation. This is the time when the follicle cells are developing and the cell is getting ready to divide to form the egg cell that will end up being ovulated.
At birth, your body initially had millions of egg cells, but most of them will not develop into an egg cell for ovulation.
The cell that goes on to become the one that is ovulated needs to be optimized to be the very best, healthiest cell possible.
It is important to do everything you can to stack the odds towards a better quality egg, improving your chances of conceiving.
Start now -- but expect the results a few months down the road.
How can I improve my egg quality naturally?
Research shows the actions you can take to help improve egg quality are all things that enhance overall health. This includes:
- improving your mitochondrial function
- focusing on sleep and melatonin production
- getting the right antioxidants
- avoiding toxicants
To maximize the improvement in egg quality, ALL of these things are important.
The takeaway message is: get healthy to get pregnant.
This isn’t the case where you should just pick one -- for example, adding in a supplement -- and ignore the rest. This is the time to pull out all the stops and focus on healthy eggs!
Mitochondria are the powerhouse of your cells - including your egg cells! They make the ATP that the egg cell uses for energy.
To have healthy mitochondria, your cells need all the building blocks for producing ATP. This includes plenty of vitamins such as riboflavin (B2) and niacin (B3). Your mitochondria also need minerals and nutrients such as magnesium, iron, manganese, and CoQ10. (study)
Sleep and melatonin are also critical to healthy egg cells. Melatonin acts as an antioxidant in the egg, preventing damage to the cell from reactive oxygen species. A healthy sleep schedule can help with maintaining your overall health -- and the health of your developing egg cells. (study)
The toxicants that you are exposed to on a daily basis - such as BPA, parabens, and phthalates - all have been shown to impact fertility. To maximize your chances to conceive, limit your exposure to these chemicals. (study)
More to come in upcoming weeks on the research-backed ways that you can improve the quality of your eggs, IMMEDIATELY!