Ways to improve egg quality for IVF

Poor egg quality can cause infertility, recurrent miscarriages, and irregular menstrual cycles. As women age, their egg quality can deteriorate, perhaps resulting in genetic defects that impact pregnancy success.

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In-vitro fertilization, or IVF is an advanced reproductive treatment that adheres to couples struggling to conceive naturally. The process involves fertilizing the eggs and sperm gathered from the couple or from donors in a laboratory.

The success of this advanced treatment has been responsible for spreading the good news of pregnancy amongst millions of people. But like any medical procedure, certain things need to be of top-tier condition in order for the procedure to work. In this case, there is a requirement of good quality oocytes, or eggs and sperm for the formation of a good-quality embryo.

Egg Quality for IVF is crucial

The quantity of oocytes a woman has is crucial, but it is secondary to their quality. The quality of the egg used for IVF determines the quality of the embryo that is going to be formed when it is fertilized with a sperm. A good quality embryo guarantees that it will implant itself on the uterine wall and would ensure a successful conception without any risk of miscarriages. Let’s find out how the quality of an oocyte is determined to select the right fit for IVF.

Egg Quality Indicators

The quality of an oocyte is determined based on its texture. Differences in granular texture may indicate unique developmental skills, necessitating a thorough assessment of these oocytes to establish their ability to thrive in IVF treatments.

Granular Oocyte: An Indicator of Healthy Oocyte

A granular oocyte, which is distinguished by the presence of granules in the cytoplasm, frequently indicates the physiological or pathological status of the egg cell. The granularity of an oocyte is more than just a physical feature; it has a substantial impact on the rate of fertilization and embryo excellence.

“The granular appearance of an oocyte’s cytoplasm indicates the existence of proteins, mitochondria, or other organelles. It is an important parameter for determining oocyte health and maturity. While a reasonable level of granularity is normal and anticipated, differences in the pattern or strength of granularity may indicate underlying problems.” says Chief Fertility Specialist Dr. Narhari Malagaonkar of Progenesis Fertility Center. 

“Recognizing these distinctions is critical in the IVF environment, as cytoplasmic granularity is an important factor in predicting oocyte survival and potential.”, he adds.

Egg vacuoles: An Indicator of Reduced Quality

Egg vacuoles, which are transparent, fluid-filled pockets within the egg’s cytoplasm, are frequently identified as warning signs during the oocyte assessment. Their existence, which is usually related to reasons like aging, stressful environments, or metabolic abnormalities, is often regarded adversely. Vacuoles are thought to be indicators of poor oocyte quality, which could lead to decreased fertilization potential and inferior embryo quality. Their evaluation is an important aspect of the morphological analysis in IVF labs.

Large Oocyte

Oocytes with diameters much larger than the ordinary range of 100 to 200 micrometers require a different set of concerns. The larger size may indicate a different maturation stage or impact the distribution of essential organelles and chemicals, influencing fertilization and embryonic development. As a result, the oocyte’s size is an important feature to consider when evaluating other morphological characteristics.

The perivitelline space, which exists between the oocyte’s plasma membrane and the zona pellucida, is also important in oocyte evaluation. An unusually wide perivitelline gap may suggest aging or aberrant development, which could hinder sperm penetration and conception. As a result, this parameter is carefully evaluated in the morphological evaluation, leading to an overall assessment of oocyte quality.

Egg quality measurement factors

Although there is no egg quality test to determine the precise condition of your eggs, a number of indicators provide a reasonable indication of your egg’s health. This includes:

  • Age: As a woman ages, her eggs weaken, which might cause miscarriage or infertility. In the mid to late 30s, the quantity and quality of eggs dramatically diminish.
  • Hormone levels: An Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) test can assist estimate how many eggs are on reserve. Women with PCOS have a large number of poor-quality eggs.
  • FSH: FSH is an estradiol and follicle-stimulating hormone that can determine egg quality.
  • Antral follicle count: It indicates the total number of follicles existing in the ovary. Each of them may mature and produce eggs, resulting in a pregnancy. 
  • Genetic factors: A genetic predisposition may also lead to poor egg quality. Specific genetic abnormalities can have an impact on the quality of eggs generated.
  • Lifestyle and environment: Habits such as smoking, excessive drinking, being overweight, and being exposed to environmental toxins can all affect egg quality.

Symptoms of Poor-Quality Eggs

While internal mechanisms associated with egg quality may not exhibit clear outward signs, particular signals may indicate possible issues. The indications of poor egg quality are:

Challenges in conceiving: One of the most common indicators of poor egg quality is difficulties conceiving, particularly in women over 35. If you’ve been actively trying to conceive for a year with no success (or six months if you’re over 35), it may be time to look into the possibility that egg quality is a concern.

Recurrent miscarriages: Poor egg quality has been linked to recurrent losses, particularly in the early stages of pregnancy. If you have suffered numerous miscarriages, you should consult with a fertility professional.

Irregular menstrual cycles: Changes in the monthly cycle may indicate a hormonal imbalance, which might affect the nature of an egg. While this is far from a definite side effect, it is crucial to consider it in context.

How to improve the quality of eggs for IVF?

Quit smoking:  Women attempting to become pregnant or undergo IVF should avoid smoking. Smoking accelerates the loss of eggs in the ovaries. Furthermore, the toxic compounds in these cigarettes alter the DNA in egg cells, leaving them unsuitable for pregnancy. Women produce fewer eggs as they age, therefore it is preferable to preserve healthy eggs and keep them away from dangerous toxins.

Eat well: Healthy meals boost general health, including preserving the health and quality of your eggs and increasing overall fertility. Consume plenty of leafy greens, healthy grains, lean protein, nuts, fresh veggies, and fruits. Avoid trans fats, refined carbohydrates, processed meals or meats, and extra salt and sugar.

Maintain a healthy body weight: Obesity is one of the most common reasons for infertility and reduced egg quality. Being overweight might cause hormonal imbalances and disrupt ovulation. You can lose weight through diet and exercise, which will not only boost your chances of becoming pregnant but also prevent any complications linked with being overweight during pregnancy.

Reduce stress: Stress can cause the release of hormones such as prolactin and cortisol, which can impact egg quality and production. Happiness and meaningful activities, such as spending quality time with family and friends, can be extremely beneficial to your overall health. Meditation and yoga can also help with stress reduction. It is extremely crucial to make time for relaxation, like taking naps, resting, or getting lengthy, warm baths. Aromatherapy and massage are also effective stress-reduction treatments.

Improve your blood circulation: The health of oocytes depends on the passage of oxygen-rich blood to the ovaries. To enhance blood flow, stay hydrated by drinking at least 6 to 8 glasses of liquids every day. Exercise also enhances blood flow, as a strong heart promotes good circulation throughout your body. Massage and yoga are additional ways to enhance blood circulation.

Use fertility supplements: Certain fertility supplements contain potent antioxidants, which can impair the quality of your eggs. When selecting supplements, look for research-based IVF supplements that have been clinically tested, have good proof to back up claims, and have exceptional ingredients that are easily absorbed and processed by the body. Consult a fertility specialist to acquire prescription pills that not only allow your body to retain its natural metabolic balance but also increase your chances of getting pregnant, making it a perfect female fertility supplement.

Freeze your eggs (Cryopreservation): If you intend to postpone becoming a parent, the best approach to save your fertility is to pause your biological clock and freeze your eggs. The process is called cryopreservation. A woman’s natural fertility drops over time, but frozen oocytes retain their biological age when cryopreserved, increasing your chances of conceiving in the future.

Embryo Grading process for successful pregnancy

“Embryo grading is a process used to select and assess the quality of embryos for IVF. We IVF specialists commonly grade embryos on days three and five after retrieving the oocytes and fertilizing them to evaluate their quality and the best time for transfer.”, says Dr. Malagaonkar.

The blastocyst stage occurs on day 5, after which the ICM, or group of cells inside the blastocyst that ultimately develops into the fetus, is graded. ICM quality is graded on a scale of A, B, and C, with A being the highest quality and C representing the lowest.

  • Grade A: Many densely packed and well-defined cells, indicating a high likelihood of successful implantation and fetal growth.
  • Grade B: A few loosely packed or somewhat less defined cells.
  • Grade C: Few cells or unstable ICM, indicating a decreased chance of successful implantation.

Conclusion

A woman’s egg quality declines naturally as she ages. While there is no magic solution to improve egg quality for IVF and successful pregnancy, certain dietary and lifestyle adjustments can help encourage healthy egg development and improve it naturally. Take control of your fertility journey by eating a nutritious diet and exercising regularly.

FAQ’s

Can I get pregnant with poor egg quality?

A woman who has poor egg quality can still conceive and maintain a pregnancy. But there is a need to see an expert infertility doctor who can advise on the best course of treatment.

What is the fertility diet to increase egg quality naturally?

To attain healthy eggs and sperm, a well-balanced diet should include:
– Plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as complex carbs such as brown rice, oats, and whole grain bread.
– Oily foods which include fish, nuts, seeds, and oils.
– Avoidance of trans fats and consumption of organic foods.
– Boost your intake of fiber.
– Prioritize fish and organic eggs over red meat. 
– Avoid additives, preservatives, processed foods, and artificial sweeteners.
– Reduce or avoid sugary treats, caffeine, and alcohol.

How to improve egg quality with low AMH?

Consuming lean proteins can assist in balancing hormones and potentially boost AMH levels. Vitamin B is necessary for general hormonal balance and may aid in increasing AMH levels. Meditation regularly might help you manage stress and enhance hormonal balance.

What is the best IVF protocol for low ovarian reserve?

Donor eggs combined with IVF are frequently the best option for women with little ovarian reserve, particularly if their remaining eggs are of poor quality. A woman can achieve pregnancy by fertilizing donor eggs with her partner’s sperm (or donated sperm) and implanting the resulting embryo in her uterus.

What could be causing poor egg quality in a younger woman?

Age is the most common cause of poor egg quality. Still, there may be other causes as well, such as pelvic radiation, ovarian surgery, reproductive illnesses, genetic abnormalities, chemotherapy, excessive nicotine and alcohol usage, and some unknown variables.

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पुरुष वंध्यत्वाचे एक कारण : वेरिकोसिल

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‘स्पर्म क्वालिटी’ या ‘पुरुषों की फर्टिलिटी’ किन बातों पर निर्भर करती है?

महिलाओं के स्त्रीबीज और पुरुषों के शुक्राणु एकसाथ जुड़नेसे महिला को गर्भधारण होता है। शुक्राणु के बिना गर्भधारण असंभव है। अस्वस्थ शुक्राणु के कारण गर्भधारण करने में समस्या होती है। लेकिन IVF, ICSI, IMSI, PICSI जैसे बहुतसे आधुनिक फर्टिलिटी इलाज से गर्भधारण संभव है।