While you are undergoing and IVF cycle you will no doubt have a lot on your mind. Most people don’t think about egg quality, it’s not necessarily on the top of their list. One of the single most important aspects to a successful IVF cycle is however, the quality of the eggs. The better quality the eggs, the better quality your embryo will be. In order to help give you some insight and knowledge on egg quality here are 5 things to help your journey to parenthood a little bit easier.
1) From birth women are already born with all of the eggs that they will ever make. Apart from sperm, there is no constant replenishment. Once a woman hits menopause, the ovaries have a more difficult time producing eggs and ovulation eventually stop completely. This doesn’t usually occur in women until they are between the ages of 30-50. As women get nearer to menopause, the ovaries have a more difficult time producing eggs, which is one of the reasons why the number of eggs retrieved in an IVF cycle varies from patient to patient. Remember that when you come for egg retrieval you can’t compare the number of eggs you have retrieved with the number someone else has retrieved. Quality is better than quantity! Keep in mind at your retrieval that the number of eggs you retrieve is not always predictive of cycle success and even those with small egg numbers can achieve a pregnancy.
2) Egg quality is of course affected by age but there are many other factors as well. There are ways to help improve the health of your ovaries and the egg quality. Our diet, environmental influences, hormonal issues, and stress are the most important factors to good egg quality. Contact your physician to discuss ways in which to maximize your egg quality and what you can do to use influence on egg quality to your advantage
3) Certain conditions can also affect your egg quality. Some of these are history of ovarian surgery, smoking, chemotherapy/radiation, and endometriosis. If you happen to have one or more of these conditions, it is extremely important that you discuss with your physician ways that may help positively influence your egg quality
4) Even if your physician tells you that you have decreased or poor egg quality, this does not mean you can’t or won’t get pregnant. This may mean however, that it will be more difficult for you, depending on the situation. If poor egg quality is a factor in your infertility and attempts to improve egg quality do not work, knowing this may help to make the decision to use donor eggs a bit easier.
5) Being realistic right from the get-go about your fertility is the best approach you can take. It’s possible that despite doing everything possible to improve egg quality, you still may not get pregnant. Make sure you find a good, caring physician, reduce stress as much as possible, and maintain a healthy lifestyle and weight. These are things you can do to improve your fertility but remember, be understanding of the hand you’ve been dealt. There are no guarantees. If you have been told you have poor egg quality and have tried all efforts to improve egg quality, moving forward and thinking about a donor egg can be the best chance for success.