You may be surprised to know that women are only born with a certain amount of eggs, more precisely around 1 to 2 million. During a woman’s fertile years, once a month, one egg will develop and be released. Alongside it, other eggs will degenerate. About eleven thousand eggs die every month and women do not make any new eggs during their lifetime. Over the next 30 years, the entire egg supply will be depleted. Most women begin to experience a significant decrease in fertility around the age of 35. By the time women reach menopause, there are no eggs left.
What is egg quality?
Egg quality is the ability of the egg to be fertilised, to multiply, to implant in the uterus and develop into a baby. Several factors can affect the quality of the egg. The most crucial factor in egg quality and the ovarian reserve is the woman’s age. Women after 40 may have a reduced number of eggs and often, the available eggs, appear healthy, fertilise normally, and undergo initial embryonic cleavage in a normal manner but have difficulty implanting.
What can you do to protect the quality of your eggs?
Egg health is crucial to fertility, so each egg can mature, ovulate, fertilise, implant and finally, develop into a baby. Even though you cannot control your age, there are other things you can do to protect egg quality.
The amount and timing of hormones are essential to growing, mature and ovulate an egg. Speak with your doctor or nurse to review your hormone levels. Hormones can be affected by blood sugar levels, weight, stress, lack of sleep and diet.
2. Lifestyle factors
Smoking ages your ovaries and depletes your eggs prematurely. Heavy drinking is associated with ovulation disorders which affect egg development. Being overweight or underweight also affects hormone levels and consequently, fertility.
Free radicals are a natural part of our metabolism, but if you drink, smoke and have a poor diet, the values increase and harm the eggs. Including antioxidants in your diet, neutralises free radicals, so make sure you include fruit, vegetables, Vitamin C and Selenium. You can also take an antioxidant supplement like Coenzyme Q10.
Vitamins A and E may also help with the mitochondrial function of eggs, helping DNA replicate. Proteins are also useful for hormones and egg quality. Experts agree a wholesome, well-balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, nuts and berries, with plenty of variety and organic, if possible, can help the body’s overall function.
4. Environmental factors
Environmental pollutants and toxins, such as pesticides and plastics, can affect egg health by decreasing the percentage of eggs that mature.
5. Managing stress
Stress may be another environmental factor that could cause eggs not to perform at their best. Some studies found that more stressed the woman is the longer it takes to get pregnant. However, trying to reduce stress can be stressful in itself. Instead, develop ways of managing it, like mindfulness, yoga, a walk in the park, journaling, reading, or speaking with a friend.
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