It is a universally known fact that the egg is the basis of reproduction, the building block of life. It would not be wrong to say that the quality of a woman’s eggs determines her ability to conceive. In fact, poor quality of eggs makes one of the most prevalent reasons for female infertility. At the same time, it does not mean that the road has ended. It is still possible for a woman with poor egg quality to get pregnant and stay pregnant. The need is to see an experienced infertility specialist who can suggest the right line of treatment. The first step in this direction is to understand all egg quality and how it influences fertility.
All about Egg Quality
Every woman is born with a finite number of eggs and this number goes on diminishing with age. This is the reason why her fertility declines as she grows older. At the same time, the quality of eggs is another key parameter of her ability to conceive. Technically speaking, it is the number as well as the quality of eggs that come together to define ovarian reserve.
Egg quality can be measured by the ability of the egg to grow into a viable embryo after being fertilized. The chromosomal makeup of the eggs plays a vital role in this regard. The egg must have proper chromosomes so that these can combine with the sperm’s chromosomes to grow into a healthy embryo. The egg quality can be regarded as poor if the number of chromosomes is not right. In such cases, a woman may come across an array of fertility and pregnancy-related complications.
Another reason for poor egg quality is that it may lack the energy to divide and develop after fertilization. Mitochondria are tiny cell organelles that functionally provide the energy for cell division. As a woman ages, the energy production by mitochondria goes down and this has a direct impact on egg quality.
As it has been seen, age is one factor that influences egg quality and makes a woman susceptible to female infertility. For a woman in her twenties and early thirties, the number of good quality eggs outnumbers those of poor quality. As a result, the chances of conception are better as compared to women of advanced age (as poor quality eggs become greater in number). Some younger women can also come across infertility issues. Genetics and health problems can also affect egg quality. Additionally, exposure to chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and smoking can cause a decline in egg quality.
Egg Quality and Fertility
Egg quality is crucial for a woman’s fertility; those with poor quality eggs will not only find it tough to get pregnant but also to stay pregnant. This can well be proven by the fact that older women with compromised egg quality often come across female infertility. Most of them have a tough time conceiving and those who do are at high risk of miscarriage. This happens because poor-quality eggs generate poor-quality embryos. Such embryos may not be able to implant themselves in the uterus. If they do, such embryos may not reach full term because of genetic abnormalities. Hence, it is evident that poor egg quality is a major cause of female infertility as well as a high miscarriage rate.
When a woman of advanced age faces problems in conception, it is imperative that her egg quality should be tested. This is one of the first diagnostic tests that a fertility specialist will recommend for patients. Not only older women, but even younger ones need to undergo these tests if they come across infertility. Typically, the day 3 FSH test is used to evaluate the levels of Follicle Stimulating Hormone. Elevated levels indicate that the egg quality is poor. The other diagnostic test used for this purpose is Clomid Challenge Test, which again tests FSH levels, though it is more advanced.
Treatment Options for Women with Poor Egg Quality
Once a woman is diagnosed with poor egg quality, they have various treatment options open to them. The fertility specialist will start by prescribing fertility drugs to improve egg quality so that the woman may conceive. Clomid is a drug that is effective for increasing egg quality as well as number. In cases where fertility drugs do not work, a more aggressive approach may be required. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is the best option in such cases.
If the quality of eggs is extremely poor, IVF may be performed in conjugation with egg donation. Donor eggs are an excellent way out for older women, for whom conception with their own eggs would be practically impossible. Further scientific research is going on to find ways to improve egg quality. Cytoplasmic transfer and nuclear transfer are some techniques that are being investigated. Women with poor egg quality should not lose heart as technology has made it possible for them to conceive.
Gaudium IVF is a reputed IVF Centre in Delhi where patients can avail of advanced and affordable infertility treatment and gynecological care. Contact here for a free second opinion from Dr. Manika Khanna, the expert infertility specialist in Delhi.