We love the book It Starts with the Egg by Rebecca Fett. In this article, we provide a summary of the book and some key takeaways.
If you’re looking for evidence-based advice for improving egg quality, thus improving your chances of getting pregnant, you are going to love Rebecca Fett’s book, It Starts with the Egg. This book was recommended to me by Dr. Meera Shah, and I’ve since used the advice to make positive changes to my lifestyle (and hopefully my egg quality as well!).
About the book
It Starts with the Egg is divided into three parts:
- Part 1: What Your Doctor Isn’t Telling You
- Part 2: How to Choose the Right Supplements
- Part 3: The Bigger Picture
The author provides practical, serviceable advice that’s rooted in clinical studies. Yet unlike most scientific books, this one is easy to read and just 326 pages long. The book includes a nutrition and lifestyle program for improving egg quality in just three months, with specific advice tailored to a variety of fertility challenges like endometriosis, diminished ovarian reserve, PCOS, and miscarriage. She also includes a product guide and recommendations.
As of the writing of this article, the book has over 2,800 positive reviews on Amazon.
About the author
Rebecca Fett is a science writer, former attorney, and mom. At 26, she was diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserves and told she had an incredibly low chance of conceiving with her own eggs. She put her molecular biotechnology and biochemistry degree to work to understand the science of egg quality and fertility, reading every clinical study that could possibly be relevant. That research laid the groundwork for her book, It Starts with the Egg, which provides an evidence-based approach to improving fertility and preventing miscarriage.
Five important takeaways from It Starts with the Egg
- Avoid phthalates and other toxins when TTC
It’s nearly impossible to entirely avoid phthalates, also known as “the everywhere chemical.” They are present in many beauty, home, and personal care products. The problem is that phthalates decrease the production of estrogen by your follicles, which is critical to follicle growth and egg development. Researchers have found that phthalates significantly interfere with the growth of ovarian follicles in eggs. The author recommends choosing products that are “phthalate free” when possible.
- Choose the right supplements
The most important supplement to take is a good prenatal vitamin. But with so many options on the market, it can be hard to determine which one is best for you. In Chapter Five, the author discusses a few important ingredients to look for: folate, B12, B6, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, selenium, and iodine. (The Prenatal for her includes all of these ingredients and more).
Based on specific fertility issues, the author also suggests other supplements including CoQ10 (egg quality), melatonin (age or egg-related infertility), myo-inositol (for women with PCOS), and more.
It’s important to discuss your supplement routine with your physician who can give further guidance on what supplements you should take and the best dosing.
- Some supplements may do more harm than good.
There’s a lot of junk science out there and products being sold with grand promises, but little or no data to back it up. In Chapter 10, the author calls out supplements that aren’t supported by quality scientific evidence. This includes:
- Royal jelly
In addition to no scientific basis for taking any of these supplements, these supplements may even worsen egg quality or cause life threatening allergic reactions.
- Choose a pro-fertility diet
We love Dr. Nicole Avena’s book, What to Eat When You're Pregnant, and found a lot of the same principles reinforced in this book. Namely, a healthy diet is good for overall fertility and health. The author shares research showing that women following a Mediteranean diet have higher success rates for IVF. What is a Mediteranean diet? One that emphasizes vegetables, healthy fats, lean meats, and seafood, and minimizes processed food and refined starches and sugars.
- Men play a role, too
All too often, the focus in fertility is on the woman. But I love that the author included a chapter dedicated to sperm quality. After all, sperm is half the equation.
To improve sperm quality, the author suggests that men:
- Take a daily antioxidant supplement, including CoQ10
- Maximize the antioxidants in their diet, with brightly colored fruits and vegetables
- Reduce exposure to phthalates, BPA, lead, and chemicals in regular lubes
- Reduce alcohol consumption
- Keep their cell phone out of the pocket
- Avoid hot baths/showers the week before a sperm sample is collected
To learn more about male fertility, check out our Guide to Male Fertility.
These are just a few takeaways from Rebecca Fett’s book, It Starts with the Egg. I highly recommend adding this to your reading list if you’re trying to conceive!