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Women often don’t give a second thought to the quality of their eggs until they are ready to conceive and then find themselves struggling with the same; when the harsh truth is that one of the most significant factors that determine fertility is the Egg Quality. A diminishing ovarian reserve leads to poor egg quality, especially in women that have crossed 35 years of age. The quality of an Embryo is directly dependent on the egg quality making it a significant factor during conceiving.

An egg reserve which is poor quality has depicted close association with embryonic chromosomal abnormalities known as aneuploidy. Such a condition can cause birth defects in some cases and more commonly it causes miscarriages. Sometimes such miscarriages occur at a very early stage and the woman might be completely unaware of the missed pregnancy. If a woman with low egg quality opts for IVF, she may unfortunately experience that the embryos wouldn’t implant or even before that, the eggs might fail to fertilize.

Let us explore how you can consciously work towards improving the quality of your eggs irrespective of the process, whether IVF or an unassisted attempt to conceive.

• Scrutinize your lifestyle choices:

Once the egg quality has already begun to depreciate, there aren’t any clinically proven methods to reverse it as of now. But researchers have dwelled upon exploring the impact of healthy lifestyle on general reproductive health. Any significant conclusive finding has not yet been discovered for a specific diet or exercise regime to result in improving egg quality but self-care and common sense would help to ensure your body as whole entity, functions at its peak healthy potential. When you would feel healthier within, you would be even better prepared to nurture a pregnancy.

So, as soon as you plan to attempt getting pregnant, it makes sense to make choices ‘as if’ you have already conceived. Refrain from consuming alcohol, nicotine and caffeine, eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet which is also high in proteins, avoid foods that may contain toxins and make time for gentle exercise consistently in your schedule.

While you are struggling with infertility, it can be frustrating to hear ‘just relax’ again and again, but reducing stress as much as feasible, has direct health benefits. Physiological reactions can be triggered by stress which may in turn create an internal environment that is not ideal for the eggs. It isn’t always practically possible to avoid all stress and you may end up stressing out about stress, a vicious cycle ironically. But you can arm yourself with tools to deal stress as and when it surfaces. You may choose to practice relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga or take support from friends and family or pursue counselling from professionals to sail through time times.

• Consider Complimentary Therapies:

There is no replacement for a qualified reproductive expert but some women also prefer to opt for commentary treatment and alternative therapies alongside, while trying to conceive as it contributes positively to their perception of well-being. Once your doctors gives a thumbs up, you may explore options like herbal medicines, acupuncture, massage or dietary supplements under the guidance of licensed therapists to create an optimal environment for the eggs. But make sure that there isn’t a probability of harmful interactions between your prescribed medications and the herbs or supplements.

• Opt for Egg Check-up:

A woman is born with a lifetime reserve of eggs in her ovaries. With passing years, the quantity and quality of eggs dwindles especially in early 30’s. Further down, in late 30’s and beginning of 40’s, this decline witnesses an acceleration till the time fertility completely ends.

It is advisable to not wait to attain advanced age in terms of fertility years to check egg quality as you may already start having trouble conceiving. It is precious time lost unnecessarily. Regular and early monitoring of the eggs to track quality and quantity would be a smart choice. Relatively low-costs tests can be conducted at a fertility clinic that would provide an accurate fertility snapshot at that current time and facilitate in decision making such when would be a good time to freeze the eggs, would you need IVF OR IUI to conceive and what could be the conception timeline most suited to you.

Such questions can be answered through some simple tests conducted by fertility experts:

1. Antral Follicle Count (Ultrasonography): Small ovarian follicles known as Antral Follicles are visible and can be counted in an Ultrasound. Through this count, the doctor can provide an estimate on the number of primordial follicles. These are microscopic and each contain an immature egg. A woman with more follicles means she has a higher ovarian reserve.

2. Day 3 FSH: Level of Follicle stimulating hormone is established through blood tests. The production of this hormone takes place in the pituitary gland and it is one of the most significant hormones in the process of ovulation. When a woman ovulates, this hormone stimulates the ovarian follicles to mature and release egg. But if a woman fails to ovulate, the production of this hormone continues in the pituitary gland. This means that that the level of FSH keeps on rising. And thus, a high level would indicate a low ovarian reserve. Doctors measure this level in the early phase of menstrual cycle.

3. Anti-mullerian hormone: AMH is measured via blood test. During early stages of growth, ovarian follicles move from microscopic primordial state into a potential stage of producing eggs and that is when they produce AMH. Even though this hormone doesn’t reflect much on the egg quality, it gives an indication on the probability of viable eggs as it is gives a direct estimate on the size of the pool of the growing follicles.

• Improve your egg quality:

Every female body is unique and there isn’t any scientific solution for predicting the timeline of diminishing ovarian reserve. There could be any number of scenarios such as a woman experiencing a rare ovarian failure prematurely in her early 20s or a very fertile woman not facing any impactful decline even in early 40s.

Visit a fertility expert and conducting tests is the only way to determine the levels of ovarian reserve and egg health. This would also provide peace of mind and give an understanding of your current fertility status and help you to plan pregnancy.

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