The Facts About Egg Quality

Egg Quality

Improving egg quality is vital if you’ve been struggling to get pregnant and:

  • You’re over 35.
  • Your cycle is getting shorter.
  • You’ve got low AMH.
  • You have Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR).
  • You’ve had unsuccessful IVF.

Egg Quality Facts

  • Women under 35 have up to a quarter of eggs with chromosomal abnormalities.
  • Women over 40 can have between 50% to 80% of eggs with chromosomal abnormalities.
  • 10-15% of recognised pregnancies end up in miscarriage.
  • 70% of natural pregnancies end up in miscarriage.
  • 70% of repeated implantation failure in IVF is due to abnormal embryos.
  • Poor quality eggs with chromosomal abnormalities is the main reason for miscarriage, failed IVF and delayed pregnancy.

How Chromosomal Abnormalities Happen

  • Eggs lie dormant until 3 months before ovulation when they go through a maturation process called meiosis. 
  • During meiosis, an egg cell divides and reduces the number of chromosomes. 
  • In this process, chromosomes cross over and exchange genetic material to create genetic variation.
  • Most of the chromosomal errors occur 3 months before ovulation when either chromosome don’t separate and pair up again properly in meiosis. Or chromosomes break, become inverted, get deleted due to chemicals and viruses.
  • When there is a chromosomal abnormality, the body recognises that pregnancy isn’t viable and will miscarry. 
  • Occasionally the body will not recognise chromosomal errors and the pregnancy continues. Downs Syndrome, 3 copies of chromosome 21, instead of 2.

What Some Doctors Don’t Know About Egg Quality

  • It used to be thought that eggs gradually get chromosomal abnormalities from the age of 30. However, we now know that most chromosomal abnormalities happen in the 3 months before you ovulate.
  • This means that if you change the conditions for the egg as it goes through meiosis, then you can change the chances of errors and increase the chances of producing a healthy viable egg.

Egg Energy

  • It takes a lot of energy for an egg to mature and produce the correct number of chromosomes.
  • Mitochondria are like a battery in the cell that creates the energy the cell needs to perform functions.
  • Over time mitochondria get damaged and don’t produce enough energy. The problem with mitochondria not working well is that chromosomal abnormalities can occur.
  • One of the solutions to producing eggs with the correct chromosomes is to protect mitochondria from damage and help them to work better.
  • Recent scientific research shows that eggs with chromosomal abnormalities can be influenced by nutrition and lifestyle factors.
  • Studies have shown that there is a wide range of the number of chromosomal abnormalities in women of the same age, which shows that age is not the problem.

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All my best,

Rachel xx

Rachel Bolton BSc (Hons), Lic. Ac., Lic. Tui Na.

I empower women to see themselves as Fertility Heroes and help them to optimise their fertility, get pregnant and have healthy babies.  

References

Fett R. (2016). It Starts With The Egg. Franklin Fox. New York.

Fragouli E., Alfarawati S., Goodall N., Sanchez-Garcia J., Colls P., Wells D. (2011). The cytogentics of poler bodies: insights into female meiosis and the diagnosis of aneuploidy. Mol Hum Reprod 2011 May; 17 (5):286-95

Kuliev A., Zlatopolsky Z., Kirillova I., Spivakova J., Cieslak J. (2011). Meiosis errors in over 20,000 oocytes studied in the practice of preimplantation aneueuploidy testing. Reprod Biomed Online Jan 22 (1) 2-8

Macklon N., Geraedts J., Fauser B. (2002). Conception to ongoing pregnancy: the ‘black box’ of early pregnancy loss. Human Reproduction Update. 2002 Jul-Aug; 8 (4): 333-43

McGloughlin, M., Kelsey, T. W., Wallace, W. H. B., Anderson, R. A., & Telfer, E. E. (2016). ABVD chemotherapy for lymphoma affects number and morphology of primordial follicles in the adolescent and adult ovary. European Society Of Human Reproduction and Embryology 0-267 Jul 2016. 

Munne S., Held K., Magli C., Ata B., Wells D., Fragouli E., Baukloh V., Fischer R., Gianaroli L. Intra-age, intercentre, and intercycle differences in chromosome abnormalities in oocytes. Fert Steril. 2012 Apr;97(4):935-42.

Sugiura-Osgasawara M., Ozaki Y., Katano K., Suzumori N., Kitaori T., Mizutani E. (2012). Abnormal embryonic karyotype is the most frequent cause of recurrent miscarriage. Hum Reprod. Aug 27 (8) 2297-303.

Van den Berg M., Van Maarle M., Van Wely M., Goddjin M., (2012). Genetics of early miscarriage. Biochim Biophy Acts. 2012 Dec; 1822 (12): 1951-9

Winston R. (2000). The IVF Revolution. Vermillion. London.

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