Concerned about your egg health? Wondering what you can be doing to improve egg quality? We’ve got you covered.
Quality and quantity are the two defining characteristics of egg health. To determine fertility, experts need to find out how many eggs the ovaries contain, and most importantly, the quality of the eggs. While egg quantity can’t be changed, research suggests that egg quality has the potential to be improved.
Difference between egg quality and egg quantity
There are two things experts look at to determine fertility in women: quality and quantity. At birth, the ovary contains around one to two million egg cells, and no more will ever be created. We’re born with all the eggs we will ever have, and the number of eggs in the ovary starts to decline until menopause. This refers to a woman’s egg quantity.
Egg quality mostly refers to reproductive success or failure. Put simply, higher quality eggs equal higher quality embryos—which is important for successful pregnancies. Determining egg quality entails looking at what percentage of a woman’s eggs are genetically normal (no DNA damage) and can lead to a viable and healthy pregnancy.
What can affect egg quality
- Age: Possibly one of the biggest determinants of egg quality is age. The older a woman gets, the more likely she is to have abnormal eggs. This may result in infertility issues or possibly miscarriage. Read more about getting pregnant in your late 30s.
- Smoking/toxins: Cigarette smoke, excessive alcohol/caffeine consumption, and environmental toxins should all be avoided since they can cause damage to eggs and sperm. One solution for eliminating toxins is to replace any current household products or cosmetics with organic, natural products.
- Nutrition: Research has linked improved nutrition to better fertility outcomes, such as improved egg and embryo quality as well as higher rates of implantation. This means maintaining a balanced diet full of healthy fats, vegetables, fruits, and grains.
Signs of bad egg quality
There are many hormones that play a role in fertility and egg health. Estradiol and Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) are especially important biomarkers. Estradiol is a form of estrogen and may indicate PCOS or poor egg quality when found in high levels. AMH testing reveals how many eggs you have left or “on reserve.” While this is better for measuring egg quantity, a high AMH may indicate Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), in which case women can have higher amounts of poorer quality eggs.
Supplements to improve egg quality
- Vitamin D: Evidence shows that vitamin D exerts some effects on female reproduction including IVF outcomes, PCOS, and endometriosis.
- CoQ10: An antioxidant found in almost all cells in our bodies, research shows that CoQ10 may lead to improved egg quality, improved embryo quality, and improved pregnancy outcomes for women over 35.
- Inositol: Myoinositol (MI) and D-Chiro inositol (DCI) are naturally occurring substances that have a large impact on hormones. MI enhances the action of FSH, via anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH), and DCI is responsible for regulating insulin-dependent testosterone levels. According to scientists, MI has been found in follicular fluid and appears to improve oocyte and embryo quality.
It takes two to tango — sperm health is important too
It’s not just about the egg! If you have a male partner (or sperm donor), there are a few things they can do to support their sperm health:
- Take a daily antioxidant supplement
- Reduce exposure to phthalates, BPA, lead, and chemicals in regular lubes
- Take the Prenatal for him multivitamin for male fertility
To learn more about male fertility, check out our Guide to Male Fertility.
To sum it up
Egg quality and egg quantity are the two factors that can help determine a woman’s fertility. Not much can be done to influence egg quantity, but egg quality may be improved with the help of supplements, nutrition, and reduced exposure to toxins. Some examples of helpful supplements include CoQ10, vitamin D, and myo-inositol. Sperm health is also an important part of the equation and may be improved using the same supplementation and reduced exposure to toxins.