By: Jasmine Sufi, Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner
The quality of your eggs is one of the key factors to conceiving successfully and having a healthy baby. Poor egg quality is something you can’t feel or see, but something that compromises the chances of conceiving.
So what does this mean?
Poor egg quality is when the egg has a physical defect, a chromosomal abnormality or lowered energy production from the mitochondria of the egg (mitochondria – the energy source for all cells in our body). What determines poor egg quality? Factors that contribute to poor egg quality are: age, chemotherapy and AMH levels (Anti-Müllerian hormone – a relatively new blood test that can test for a woman’s ovarian reserve.)
The lower the reserve, the higher the chance of poor egg quality because the individual is considered to be closer to menopause with fewer eggs remaining.
The pressing question is how can egg quality be improved? The answer is we’ve seen it happen.
Ovarian reserve is something that cannot be reversed. As females we are born with all the eggs we will ever have and gradually lose them through each menstrual cycle. However, the quality of the eggs we do have can be improved. The two big factors that I recommend to my clients are consuming high amounts of antioxidants and acupuncture.
Antioxidants are absolutely essential to helping your body heal, aiding in reducing oxidative stress that life, stress, and poor diet has on our cells. Oxidative stress causes free radicals (small particles) to bounce around the cells in our body and cause damage to existing cells.
As we age or environmental/dietary chemicals cause damage to our health, the oxidative damage to our cells continue to build. This injury to our cells occurs to all of our cells, including our ovarian eggs.
Antioxidants help clean up free radicals in our bodies and decrease cellular damage, healing cells and replenishing energy stores. Antioxidants are our fountain of youth, reversing cell damage and allowing cells to function more efficiently – including our eggs!
Acupuncture helps in a similar fashion, reducing the effects of stress, improving blood circulation in the entire body, including into the uterus and improving the overall efficiency of individual cells.
Acupuncture helps to balance the body, improving several symptoms at once and enhancing your overall health. By improving your overall state of health, the body is better able to conceive.
Poor egg quality is a diagnosis that can be reversed with careful diet, increased supplements and acupuncture.
“Stella” had undergone two previous in vitro fertilization (IVF). Both retrievals were successful with eight to 10 eggs retrieved. Six eggs were mature enough to be fertilized, however once fertilized, the eggs didn’t survive. Stella proceeded with a second IVF cycle and was able to have a transfer with a single embryo that survived, but did not result in a pregnancy.
Frustrated and discouraged, Stella and her husband sought out acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine for treatment. She received three months of acupuncture, once a week, along with bi-weekly massage therapy. Stella continued acupuncture during her next IVF cycle. Her retrieval after this period was similar, except this time five embryos survived and two healthy embryos were transferred at Day 5. The remaining three healthy embryos were frozen for future transfers and this time she had a healthy pregnancy with twins.