When it comes to improving one’s fertility, I’m often asked, “How can I improve egg quality?” and “Is there an egg quality test?”
There is often a lot of pressure on the egg-providing partner to improve the quality of their eggs but when working with a fertility clinic not much advice is given on how to do so. Working with a fertility-focused Naturopathic Doctor can provide you with evidence-based recommendations tailored to your unique health circumstances. Optimizing your egg quality is an essential part of a successful fertility journey.
Is there a way to test my egg quality?
Unlike sperm quality, there is unfortunately no test (yet!) to measure egg quality. Currently, our only way of determining the quality is age, which as one gets older, goes down.
We can also assume that egg quality is an issue if you have undergone an egg retrieval and
- No eggs were able to be retrieved
- Eggs were retrieved but few or none made it to the blastocyst stage
- None of the embryos were genetically viable
The problem with determining egg quality by age is that everyone ages differently. Eggs and sperm are cells that are highly sensitive to their environment and easily affected by free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that damage cell DNA and encourage aging. Having the right amount of DNA in the egg and sperm cells is essential to getting and staying pregnant.
Optimizing egg quality is really about anti-aging. There are certain dietary, lifestyle, and supplements that can speed up or slow down the aging process of the body.
Egg Quality Diet & Lifestyle
Before diving into supplements, the best place to start is always diet & lifestyle. The benefits you can receive through a healthy dietary and lifestyle approach will always outweigh the benefits from supplements.
The most evidence-based diet for supporting egg quality is the Mediterranean Diet. The Mediterranean diet includes lots of colourful fruits and vegetables, anti-inflammatory fat sources, and lean protein. Implementing a Mediterranean Diet is a general approach for some patients like those with PCOS, hypothyroidism, and endometriosis would benefit from an even more tailored dietary recommendation.
We all have a pretty good idea of what constitutes a healthy diet and lifestyle, however, where most people struggle is how to sustainably implement it. As well, with all the “healthy” marketing out there today it can easily become confusing and overwhelming. This is where working with a Naturopathic Doctor can help you be successful. Our job is to cut through the noise and provide you with the exact guidelines you need. In our appointments together we take the time to creatively work through any challenges you may be having so you can implement these changes stress-free.
Supplements for Egg Quality
I have a lot of patients who have DYIed their fertility-supportive supplements, and here are the common mistakes I see:
- Too low or too high of a dosage
- Too many expensive supplements
- Incorrect form of a vitamin
- Incorrect timing and method of taking the supplement
- Supplements that are not specific to that person’s needs
Whenever we are taking a supplement, we need to ask the following questions:
“Why am I taking this supplement?”
“What benefits should I see from taking this supplement?”
“How much and for how long should I be taking this supplement?”
Rarely is the right answer to these questions searchable on the web or on the back of a supplement bottle. Books are great resources but often lead to feeling overwhelmed and over-supplementation since every supplement listed sounds promising.
The fertility journey is a unique process for everyone. Adding a Naturopathic Doctor to your healthcare team can help you take the stress out of optimizing your egg quality.