If you are trying to get pregnant, you would have heard of Egg Quality. But what is egg quality, and how does one improve it?
Our lifestyle and food choices play a huge role in helping our bodies function. Our reproductive system is no different. While your genetics determine the quantity and the quality of the egg, lifestyle factors can affect the environment the eggs are growing in.
We have compiled a quick resource that will help you understand the relationship between egg quality and female fertility. It will also guide you with ways to improve egg quality through food and lifestyle choices.
The quality of a woman’s egg is vital to her fertility. High-quality eggs improve embryo quality. These can be implanted in the uterus and survive the early stages of development. Thus, resulting in a successful pregnancy.
There are two determinants of egg quality –
An oocyte is an immature egg released every month during the reproductive cycle. All women also have a certain percent of abnormal oocytes.
A normal egg has 23 chromosomes. When fertilized by the sperm, which also has 23 chromosomes, it results in a chromosomally normal embryo with 46 chromosomes. Studies show that with age, this number of abnormal eggs increases. The risk of chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus increases from age 35. 
Before ovulation, the oocyte goes through a process of maturation and cell division. Older or poor quality eggs are more likely to accumulate errors in their DNA during the division process. In ageing eggs, the chromosomes do not stick well together.. This causes them to prematurely separate during the cell divisions, creating eggs with an abnormal number of chromosomes.
Sometimes the conception occurs with poor egg quality and the embryo inherits too few or too many chromosomes resulting in an abnormal embryo.
These chromosomally abnormal embryos may either fail to implant in the uterus or if implanted may result in chromosomal disorders in the child.
Egg quality also refers to the number of eggs a woman has left. This is also called the Ovarian Reserve. It was previously believed that women are born with around 1 – 2 million eggs . This is all the eggs that they will ever have, and they cannot produce more during their lifetime. By puberty, this number reduced to 300,000 potential eggs. During the reproductive years, only 300 to 400 of these eggs will be ovulated. As women grow older, this Ovarian Reserve declines even more.
A woman’s age plays a vital role in determining egg fertility and quality.
Important Note: Recent research has proved that the stem cells in ovaries produce a second wave new eggs during a woman’s reproductive years..- HERA
Every menstrual cycle, your body releases an egg for ovulation. This one egg represents your one chance for pregnancy in that menstrual cycle.
Sometimes you ovulate two (or more) eggs at the same time – which can result in fraternal twins if both eggs get fertilized. But it is improbable for two separate eggs to release at different times within the same cycle.
If the egg(s) ovulated are normal, it strengthens your chances of a healthy pregnancy.
But what if it’s not?
Poor egg quality results in an embryo that does easily implant in the uterus. This explains why it is harder for older women to get pregnant. Even if the embryo successfully implants, there are higher chances of genetic disorders.
Egg quality declines with age. This is why infertility, miscarriage, and genetic disorders are common among older mothers.
Besides maternal age, there are a few other factors that affect your egg quality –
Smoking damages the genetic material in eggs. This increase chances of miscarriage and higher birth-defects. Smoking also depletes the egg prematurely and is linked with diminished ovarian reserve. It is proven that smokers are likely to go through menopause 1 to 4 years earlier.
Stress produces hormones such as cortisol and prolactin, which result in poor egg quality.
Stress may also lead to making bad lifestyle, and food choices – such as alcohol, smoking, high sugar goods. This can affect egg quality & fertility.
Cancer treatments like chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery can impair the quantity, egg quality and fertility. This depends on the dose, the location of the treatment, and age of the patient.
Hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone and insulin, play an important role in fertility.
Hormones that affect egg quality & fertility such as anti-müllerian hormone (AMH), estradiol and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), must be present at the right time, and in the right quantity, to improve egg quality.
Many hormone-related abnormalities, including irregularities in thyroid hormones and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), also affect egg quality & fertility.
Being Overweight Or Underweight
Being overweight or underweight affects egg quality & fertility. Clinical data and animal studies have indicated that obesity negatively impacts the development of oocytes. Research using mice found that consuming a diet high in fat causes damage to eggs. As a result, when fertilized these eggs are not able to undergo normal, healthy development into an embryo.
Endometriosis is a chronic condition affecting women. It is associated with chronic abdominal pain, irregular periods, and lowered fertility caused by the formation of scar tissue in the reproductive tract. This causes a hostile uterine environment, and compromises blood flow to the ovaries, reducing the oxygen supply. It also hinders the maturation of eggs and lowers their quality.
Genetic Conditions Such As Turner Syndrome
Turner syndrome is a genetic disorder in which there is a loss of an X chromosome or a limitation of its function. Women with Turner syndrome have reduced the number and quality of eggs.
Healthy foods improve overall health and help your eggs stay healthy. They help you improve embryo quality and boosts fertility. Here are a few superfoods that you can include in your daily diet to improve egg quality.
Citrus fruits like oranges, limes and grapefruits are some of the best sources for vitamin C. These help stabilize ovulation and encourage the release of an egg.They are egg quality foods, packed with calcium, potassium, and folate.
Watermelon and asparagus
Watermelon and asparagus provide the body with the antioxidant glutathione. This is important to help you improve embryo quality.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Green Leafy Vegetables like kale, spinach, broccoli are high in folate, iron, manganese, calcium, and Vitamins A, B, C and E. These nutrients strengthen and improve egg quality.
Avocados are a superfood packed with nutrition. Their high content of monounsaturated fat helps in improving egg health and maintaining good reproductive health.
Nuts are a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Brazil nuts are especially high in selenium, which abates chromosomal damage in eggs. It improves egg production.
Sesame seeds are high in zinc and Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), an antioxidant that plays a direct role in slowing down the ageing process in eggs and improving embryo quality.
Cinnamon is known to improve ovarian function and encourage proper egg production by combating insulin resistance.
Maca Root also known as Peruvian Ginseng helps support hormonal balance and improve egg quality.
Hera Pro Tip : You can try making an egg quality foods smoothie with avacados, spinach, cinnamon and sesame seeds for nutrient dense drink to improve egg quality.- HERA
If you are looking to improve egg quality avoid foods such as processed foods, trans fats, soda, caffeine, alcohol and sugar
Lifestyle Changes To Improve Your Egg Quality
While the total number of eggs cannot be increased, research has shown that egg quality can be improved. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, eating egg quality foods and using supplements can improve egg quality and ovarian function.
When choosing supplements to improve egg quality, it’s best to look for a supplement that has well-researched ingredients. Hera’s range of Plan Essentials helps you prepare your body for pregnancy for improving your egg quality.