When considering IVF, supporting egg health is very important. Age can determine egg health but there are also many lifestyle factors that can affect the quality of eggs, too, such as stress, overweight, smoking and lack of exercise.
Good blood flow, normal hormonal cycles and quality eggs all contribute to the ability to conceive. The following five tips can help to improve egg quality.
1. Boost your blood flow
When oxygen-rich blood flows to the ovaries, it boosts egg health. Dehydration causes blood to become thicker and reduces circulation so drinking enough water every day is vital (six to eight glasses a day). Exercise also increases blood flow and helps to oxygenate the blood as well as to reduce stress. Some Yoga poses are known to be particularly beneficial to fertility.
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2. Achieve a normal body mass index (BMI)
When a woman is overweight, this can result in decreased fertility and reduced egg quality. Overweight or obese women have increased levels of leptin, a hormone produced in fatty tissue. This disrupts the hormone balance and creates a greater risk of fertility issues.
Abdominal fat, in particular, results in insulin resistance and the creation of less sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) which regulates the sex hormones. This causes irregular menstrual cycles and less chance of conception. Women with a BMI above 27 are three times more likely than women within the normal weight range not to conceive because they do not ovulate. A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is recommended for falling pregnant.
3. Give up smoking
The chemicals in cigarettes, such as nicotine and cyanide, mutate the DNA in the egg cells. Women are born with a finite number of eggs and this number reduces with age. When eggs die off, they cannot be replaced. Women who smoke go through menopause earlier than non-smokers. Infertility risks increase with the number of cigarettes smoked on a daily basis.
Quitting smoking can’t do anything about decreased egg supply but the rate of pregnancy complications due to smoking will decrease the longer you haven’t smoked.
4. Eat healthy food
The internet is full of diets that claim to increase fertility but the experts agree that a well-balanced, wholesome diet is best. Make sure that half of your plate at every meal consists of fresh vegetables and fruits. Watermelon, asparagus and other raw fruits and vegetables increase the supply of glutathione to the body, which is important for egg quality. Avoid processed foods full of excess salt, sugar and trans-fats.
A diet with plenty of variety, and that’s organic if possible, can increase overall body health, including that of your eggs. Dark, leafy greens, like spinach and kale, are filled with vitamins, and kale contains elements needed for estrogen metabolism. Fruits like blueberries are packed with antioxidants.
5. Take supplements
There are many supplements you could take but one that most experts agree on is Coenzyme Q10. Ovulation requires energy and the ovarian cells are dependent on CoQ10 for this energy. As women age, they have lower levels of CoQ10 and supplementing with it can improve egg quality. Other supplements can also help the cells to work better, such as folic acid and vitamins A and E.
Before taking any supplements, discuss them with your doctor first. It is important to know the source and quality of any supplement as certain claims can be made that have no scientific evidence to support them.