The Relationship Between Fertility And Egg Quality
Many women believe that how many eggs they have lefttheir egg countis the primary indicator of their fertility. But, while egg count is part of the equation, the true driver of fertility is egg quality, and the decline in egg quality is a natural, inevitable result of age.
Heres what you need to know about fertility and egg quality:
How To Get Pregnant If You Have Endometriosis
Endometriosis is another common reproductive condition, affecting more than one in 10 women in the United States. It occurs when tissue found in the uterus grows in other parts of the body, such as the ovaries or fallopian tubes.
Even mild endometriosis can reduce fertility, while severe endometriosis can distort a woman’s pelvic anatomy and, for example, block her fallopian tubes, according to a 2015 study in The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of India .
It is still possible for a woman with endometriosis to become pregnant, and, once pregnant, the pregnancy is expected to be no different to that of a woman without endometriosis. Medical treatment through drugs does not improve fertility, according to Endometriosis UK , an endometriosis-focused charity. These medications involve regulating a person’s hormones, and can slow the growth of endometrial tissue and prevent new pieces from developing, said the Mayo Clinic . But because these drugs are based on hormones , they actively stop a woman from getting pregnant.
Endometriosis presents differently in different women, so its treatment depends on the individual,according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine .
Surgery to excise the endometrial and scar tissue may improve fertility rates and help reduce pain associated with endometriosis, researchers reported in the 2015 study in TheJournal of Obstetrics and Gynecology of India .
Maintain Healthy Blood Circulation
Healthy circulation of blood to the reproductive organs is needed for the ovaries to function well, as oxygen-rich blood aids in the healthy production of eggs. Dehydration could decrease blood flow, so drink sufficient amounts of water. Yoga is a very good exercise to increase blood circulation the lotus pose, child pose, reclining hero and seated forward bend are some positions in yoga that boost fertility.
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Theres No Fertility Test For Egg Quality
The fertility testing that exists, often called ovarian reserve testing, tests for markers of your egg count, not your egg quality. Fertility tests, like anti-Müllerian hormone levels, tell you how many eggs you have left, which can help predict how many eggs youll be able to retrieve during an egg freezing or IVF cycle. This is important infobut its only part of the picture.
The only way to know for sure if an egg is chromosomally normal is to attempt to fertilize it, and, if fertilization is successful, to perform a genetic test on the embryo the egg quality of an unfertilized egg, which is only a single cell, cant be safely tested with current medical technology. However, because errors in our eggs DNA happens naturally and inevitably over time, and because the impact of age on egg quality is consistent and universal, your age can give doctors a very accurate picture of what percentage of your eggs are normal.
Thats why a fertility assessment and consultation here at Extend Fertility includes not only a blood test and an ultrasound, but a conversation with a doctor, who can help you understand your individual fertility test results, your predicted egg yield, and your chance of success with egg freezing.
Can I Improve The Quality Of My Eggs
One of the questions women constantly ask me is if there is anything that can be done to improve the quality of their eggs. We know that a woman is born with all of the eggs she will ever possess and these are her most precious, valuable commodity. Egg health is the cornerstone to fertility and they need to be nourished in order to mature, ovulate, fertilise, implant and finally, make a baby.
The amount and quality of the eggs are genetically determined and reduce over the years, but the environment the eggs are growing in can be affected by lifestyle factors just like any other cell in the body.
I always think of the egg as being magnificent. Once released when ovulated it is 550 times bigger than the sperm and is the largest cell in the body. Prior to ovulation, it matures in a fluid-filled follicle and needs energy for the journey ahead. An egg lives up to 24 hours, so in this short window of time, it needs to be as healthy as it can be.
Good energyThe egg cell requires different nutrients for different parts. The outer layer requires essential fatty acids Omega 3 and DHA. The powerhouse of the egg needs energy for when the egg divides after fertilization CoQ10 works with enzymes, which help to cause chemical changes within the body, particularly energy production, and is needed for the reproductive system. B vitamins and Zinc are also needed for cell division after fertilisation.
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Getting The Timing Right
The best way to increase your odds of getting pregnant quickly is to make sure that youre having sex at the right time in your cycle.
If you have regular cycles, you will ovulate around two weeks before your period. This means your fertile window will be the seven days before your expected ovulation.
If you have irregular cycles, it can be a little more difficult to predict when you will ovulate and when your fertile window will be.
There are a number of techniques that you can use to more precisely pinpoint your ovulation and fertile window.
Cut Back On Strenuous Workouts
Being physically active most days of the week can help a woman’s body prepare for the demands of pregnancy and labor, and has been associated with a reduced risk of fertility problems, scientists reported in the March 2020 issue of the journalHuman Reproduction . But getting too much exercise or doing frequent strenuous workouts could interfere with ovulation,Live Science reported.
Doctors see a lot of menstrual disturbances in women who exercise heavily, and a lot of times these women need to cut back on their workouts if they want to become pregnant, Pavone told Live Science.
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Contact Us To Chat With A Fertility Advisor
Secondly, with age theres a decrease in egg quality, which is a bit more complex. Youre born with all your eggs, but for most of your life, they remain dormant in your ovaries in their immature, primordial form. That is, until theyre called to action during a particular monththe month theyll potentially be ovulated. Just before ovulation, these eggs go through a process of maturation, including cell division . Older eggs are more prone to errors during this division process thats why its more likely that older eggs, once ovulated, will contain abnormal DNA. If you remember back to high school science, DNA is what tells a cell to do what it needs to do. So without healthy DNA, an egg cant perform its function: make a healthy baby. And as you age, more of your eggs become unhealthy.
Your other eggs remain tucked away inside your ovaries, affected by the aging process , but generally unaffected by the majority of the wear and tear the rest of your body weathers. This has pros and cons: while your egg health doesnt seem to be meaningfully impacted by the cumulative influence of everyday toxins or illness, its also not meaningfully improved by antioxidants, supplements, or nutrients that might support healthy cells in other parts of the body.
Other Vitamins And Nutrients For Egg Quality After 40
Vitamin E- Vitamin E has strong antioxidant effects. It can reduce oxidative stress and increase follicular blood supply that is essential to the development of high-quality eggs .
Zinc Zinc and certain B vitamins have been shown to play a pivotal role in DNA synthesis, which is fundamental to the development of high-quality oocytes .
Folate Research shows adequate folate levels are important for oocyte quality, maturation, fertilization, and implantation .
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Notes On The Fertility Smoothie Recipe
Now that youve made it through my exhaustive post on fertility smoothies, I hope YOU arent exhausted! My recipe is below, please enjoy, and make it YOURS. Just like the Fertility Diet, the Fertility Smoothie should be tailored to your particular situation .
A quick note on taste ladies, this smoothie is not going to taste like the ones youve made with two bananas, mangoes, honey, and whole fat dairy. It just isnt. But over time you get used to it, and now I find them delicious! I crave their green goodness daily. While not trying to conceive, however, you can believe I put those bananas in there!
Note- I change up my smoothie a little bit each day. Sometimes Ill do a raw ginger/blueberries/lime juice combo. Sometimes Ill do raspberries, a little bit of gojis, and add some cocoa powder. It all depends on the day and what Im feeling. Some day Ill write a book on it! This is my basic smoothie that I do for my High FSH, endometriosis, Low AMH, diminished ovarian reserve, and MTHFR mutation. It was one of the 79 things I did to get pregnant!
Before you go, here are some of my favorite free reports for getting pregnant:
Natural Ways To Increase Your Chances Of Having A Twin Pregnancy
Here are some steps you can take to increase your likelihood of having your ovaries release more than one egg at a time.
Getting pregnant in your 30s or later
You are more likely to conceive twins when you are over 30. This likelihood spans from increased production of the follicle-stimulating hormone or FSH. This hormone is responsible for egg development in the ovaries.
Higher levels of FSH are required as people get older because more stimulation is required for egg growth. The increased FSH levels resulting from lower fertility sometimes causes the follicles to overreact. This causes the release of multiple eggs that bring about multiple births.
Finding a partner with a family history of twins
It is more likely that children of male identical twins reproduce identical twins. Having fraternal twins in your family increases your chances of having twins too. When there are fraternal twins on both the father and mother’s side, the chances of having twins might increase further.
Increasing your weight
People who are obese with a body mass index of over 30 have increased chances of twin pregnancies. The levels of estrogen a female sex hormone increase with extra body fat. The weight increase leads to excessive stimulation of the ovaries. The ovaries might release multiple eggs instead of one. But there are other factors that can make conceiving difficult for people with obesity.
Consuming dairy products
Getting pregnant repeatedly
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What Happens During Ovulation
The average menstrual cycle is 28-35 days. Ovulation usually happens between days 11 and 21 of your cycle. A hormone called luteinizing hormone surges, triggering the release of the egg that’s most ripe. At the same time, your cervical mucus becomes more slippery to help sperm make their way to the egg.
Factors Contributing To Oxidative Stress
Here are just some of the things that can cause your free radical levels to skyrocket:2-4
- Toxins such as bisphenol-A , parabens, phthalates, herbicides and pesticides
- Increased temperature in a mans scrotum
- Imbalanced insulin levels due to sugar intake, diabetes or polycystic ovary syndrome
- Using a cell phone or other technology or placing it near reproductive organs
When you come in contact with any one or all of these modern-day exposures listed above, it increases your risk of infertility.
Oxidative stress is to blame for many fertility problems as well as factors that lead to miscarriage. Recurrent pregnancy loss, spontaneous abortion, preeclampsia , and fetal death are all linked to oxidative stress.5 Intrauterine growth restriction , a condition where the fetus is smaller than expected for the number of weeks of pregnancy, is also linked to too many ROS.5 Oxidative stress can play a role in embryonic resorption, where the fetus is reabsorbed back into the body, leading to miscarriage.5
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Exclusive: Menopausal Women Become Pregnant With Their Own Eggs
Two women thought to be infertile have become pregnant using a technique that seems to rejuvenate ovaries, New Scientist can reveal. It is the first time such a treatment has enabled menopausal women to get pregnant using their own eggs.
I had given up hope on trying to get pregnant, says one of the women, WS, who is now six months pregnant. To me, its a miracle.
The approach is based on the apparent healing properties of blood. Kostantinos Sfakianoudis and his colleagues at the Genesis Athens Clinic in Greece draw blood from their patients and spin it in a centrifuge to isolate platelet-rich plasma. This has a high concentration of the cell fragments usually involved in blood clotting, and is already used to speed the healing of sports injuries, although its effectiveness for this purpose is unclear.
The clinic is attempting to use this plasma to repair womens reproductive systems, injecting it directly into the ovaries and uterus. So far, the team has given this experimental treatment to more than 180 women, many of whom sought treatment because they have a disorder that damages the lining of the uterus.
But the team has also used the treatment in an effort to rejuvenate the organs of 27 menopausal and peri-menopausal women, between the ages of 34 and 51.
Can Amh Levels Fluctuate
Yes, AMH levels fluctuate. Being told that you have low AMH levels may feel very disheartening, but many women get pregnant naturally despite this. The AMH tests dont tell the whole story because of the AMH fluctuation. Some months you may have higher levels of AMH compared to other months when you have lower AMH levels .
In addition, measurements of AMH can vary from lab to lab and from person to person. Even the way the blood is stored can affect the test results. It also does not necessarily predict the chances of conceiving using IVF.
Those with polycystic ovary syndrome often have raised levels of AMH so an AMH test may be less accurate in predicting ovarian reserve in those with PCOS.
When being tested, ask your doctor how much variability can be expected.
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How Many Babies Can A Person With Hyperovulation Have In One Pregnancy
Multiple births with more than three babies are very rare, and theyre usually due to fertility treatments rather than hyperovulation.
But in May 2021, a 25-year-old Malian woman gave birth to nine children, and she reportedly conceived without the help of fertility treatment. This is exceptionally rare and likely the result of a combination of hyperovulation and identical multiples.
While those babies remain under observation, the current Guinness World Record for the most surviving babies delivered in one birth is held by a U.S. woman, known as Octomom. This pregnancy was the result of IVF treatment that implanted 12 embryos.
Drugs That Help The Ovaries Release Eggs To Become Pregnant
Infertility specialists often prescribe medications to help the ovaries produce and release mature eggs, otherwise known as ovulation. Certain health conditions can prohibit a woman from ovulating, thus preventing pregnancy from occurring. Medications that cause ovulation are available in injectable and oral forms.
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Dont Be Ashamed To Get Help
Your end goal in this process is to conceive and have a baby. Theres nothing to be ashamed about if you require additional help to make that possible. Its likely a doctor will run some tests and do some imaging to determine if theres an easy answer to your difficulty.
Its possible there may even be more than one reason youre experiencing difficulty conceiving. Both you and your partner should be thoroughly evaluated to determine the cause and to create a treatment plan.
If youre over 35, youll want to seek help after trying unsuccessfully to conceive for six months. If youre under 35, you should plan on trying for a full year before seeing your doctor.
Your doctor can help you through this process or refer you to a specialist if needed. You arent alone in struggling to conceive. Fortunately, there are plenty of options out there to help you.
Age Is A Major Factor For Women
Youve probably heard the phrase your biological clock is ticking. This phrase refers to your fertile window. Women cant conceive after their menstrual cycles stop, usually sometime in your 40s or 50s. Men produce sperm throughout their lives, but women are born with a set number of eggs that decreases as you age.
At birth you have about two million eggs but naturally lose hundreds of thousands of them by the time you reach puberty, says Cross. Your body continues to lose eggs no matter what you do. And the rate at which women lose eggs accelerates around the age of 37.
The quality of eggs stored in the ovaries also declines over time. The eggs youre born with are naturally paused in the process of dividing their DNA, Cross explains. They complete that process, or ripen, when you ovulate them 20 to 40 years later. The longer eggs are stuck in the mid-division stage, the more likely that process will go wrong creating eggs with the wrong number of chromosomes. That results in not becoming pregnant, experiencing miscarriages or having babies with genetic syndromes due to chromosomal abnormalities.
The bottom line: The quality and number of eggs a woman has decreases throughout her lifetime and egg loss accelerates around the age of 37, which makes it more difficult to become pregnant.
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