What Are the Signs of Bad Egg Quality
- Published on January 10, 2023
What is Bad Egg Quality?
Bad Egg Quality” or “Poor Oocyte Quality” can make the conception process difficult for a woman seeking motherhood. The fertilisation process and the embryo’s development and implantation in the uterus typically depend on the quality of the egg. The better the quality of the egg the higher the chances are of embryo development and implantation.
The quality of the eggs is generally measured by the chromosomal irregularities or other defects that decrease the chances of the natural fertilisation process, successful implantation, or development of the fetus. Therefore, various factors can lead to poor egg quality. Among all, age is a significant factor, especially for women above 35 years, in addition, lifestyle factors like unhealthy diet, smoking, and alcohol consumption can also result in bad egg quality.
Egg quality contributes to a woman’s fertility and her ability to become pregnant. Improved egg quality increases the chance that the egg will develop into an embryo, implant in the uterus, and lead to a successful pregnancy.
The eggs or oocytes play an important role in female fertility. They are located inside the ovaries and contained in follicles, which are tiny sacs filled with fluid. These follicles grow in size as the eggs develop and mature.
When an egg or oocyte matures, the mature egg is released out of the ovary.
There are various signs of bad egg quality, which can indicate that there is an issue with the quality of eggs being produced.
Since egg quality plays a key role in fertility, it’s important to know the signs that indicate bad egg quality. Keep reading to know the signs of bad egg quality.
Signs of Bad Egg Quality
1. An abnormal number of chromosomes
An abnormal chromosome number may be one of the signs of bad egg quality.
Usually, an egg has 23 chromosomes. When it is fertilised by a sperm (which also has 23 chromosomes), the embryo that is formed will have 46 chromosomes, which is the normal amount. When egg quality is normal, it means the chromosomes are normal.
If eggs are abnormal or of poor quality, the number of chromosomes will be less than or more than the normal number. These eggs are called aneuploid eggs.
If conception occurs with this egg, the embryo that forms will have an abnormal number of chromosomes.
2. Chromosomal disorders
Chromosomal disorders may be one of the signs of bad egg quality.
When the age of a woman increases, there is often an increase in the number of aneuploid eggs produced. This may result in chromosomal disorders where there are extra copies of chromosomes or abnormal chromosomes.
For this reason, chromosome disorders can be a sign of poor egg quality.
3. Low FSH reserves
Low reserves of Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) can indicate that the eggs are decreasing in quality. FSH is the hormone secreted by the pituitary gland, which signals the ovaries to make an egg every cycle.
As the egg quality reduces, they become more resistant to FSH, and it requires more FSH. This leads to higher levels of FSH in the body (and low FSH reserves), which is one of the signs of bad egg quality and will be considered in an egg quality test.
This will also be considered when determining how to improve egg quality.
4. Low levels of estradiol
Low levels of estradiol are also one of the signs of bad egg quality. Estradiol is the hormone that happens to communicate signals from the ovaries to the brain.
When E2 levels increase, the ovarian follicles are stimulated to grow. If the E2 levels are high at an early stage of the cycle, it can indicate that the ovaries are releasing it early and that the egg quality is reduced.
5. Low levels of anti-mullerian hormone (AMH)
Low levels of AMH may be one of the signs of bad egg quality.
AMH is a glycoprotein that is released by the cells of eggs in their initial stage of development. It stimulates the eggs to mature and helps develop them.
AMH level is one of the first indicators as it reduces before the FSH levels increase. Low AMH is one of the key signs of bad egg quality as it is directly produced by the ovaries as compared to FSH, which is produced in the pituitary gland.
Low levels of AMH may indicate issues with the quality of the eggs in an egg quality test and will be considered when determining how to improve egg quality.
6. Low Follicle Count
A low follicle count can be one of the signs of bad egg quality. This can be determined by transvaginal ultrasound, in which the follicle count is assessed by counting the number of follicles between four and nine millimetres in the ovaries.
A lower number of follicles could indicate problems with egg quality and quantity.
7. Irregular period cycle and difficulty conceiving
If you are facing issues conceiving and have not been able to conceive for a while now, it could be one of the signs of bad egg quality. Irregular periods or abnormally long cycles can indicate that there are issues with ovulation.
These may occur because the eggs are not forming properly or because they are of lower quality, so they do not reach the phase of ovulation.
Having multiple miscarriages may be one of the signs of bad egg quality. It could indicate that the eggs being produced are aneuploid or abnormal.
While such foetuses are usually prevented from implanting in the uterus, abnormal eggs may still implant. In cases like that, it may result in a miscarriage.
Multiple factors may lead to a miscarriage. However, multiple miscarriages may be a strong indication of an underlying issue with egg quality.
Age is another factor that affects egg quality, and a woman’s age can be one of the signs of bad egg quality. Even if you don’t have other symptoms of poor egg quality, your age can be a clear indicator. Your gynaecologist will assess the quality of your eggs accordingly.
Usually, if you are above 35 years old, it is likely that egg quality is reduced. However, this is not always the case, and your gynaecologist may suggest further testing.
Bad Egg Quality Treatments
Treatments for poor egg quality can be challenging, some of the approaches to manage and improve egg quality are:
- Lifestyle Changes: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can positively impact egg quality. This includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, and stress management.
- Supplements: Some supplements like Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and antioxidants may help improve egg quality by reducing oxidative stress.
- Medications: In some cases, fertility medications, such as Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), can be prescribed to enhance egg quality. In Vitro Maturation (IVM): IVM is an alternative to conventional IVF, where immature eggs are retrieved and matured in the lab before fertilization.
- Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS): PGS can identify chromosomally abnormal embryos, improving the chances of selecting healthy embryos for transfer.
- Egg Donation: If poor egg quality persists, using donor eggs may be a viable option for achieving pregnancy.
Egg Quality and Quantity with Age and Standards
Both egg number and quality, which decrease with ageing, are essential components of female fertility.
- Quantity: An individual’s ovarian reserve begins at birth and gradually reduces over time. Egg production decreases with age in women, peaking in the late 30s and early 40s. The quantity of eggs that can be fertilised may be reduced as a result of this ovarian reserve loss.
- Egg quality: The genetic integrity of an egg is referred to as its quality. Egg quality tends to decrease with age, increasing the likelihood of chromosomal abnormalities. Miscarriages and infant abnormalities may become more common as a result of this deterioration in quality.
- Standards: These can vary, but generally speaking, women are thought to have their best egg quality and quantity in their early 20s, with a slow decline beginning in their late 20s and a sharper decline occurring after 35. For individualised evaluations and advice, it’s crucial to speak with a fertility specialist, particularly if you’re attempting to become pregnant later in life.
Being aware of the signs of bad egg quality is helpful because it enables you to get an indication of whether you need to see a gynaecologist. Bad egg quality can affect your fertility, so it is important to be mindful of the symptoms.
In case you experience signs of bad egg quality, it is best to visit a gynaecologist or fertility specialist who can advise you on how to improve egg quality and other treatment options.
1. Can you fix poor egg quality?
In case you experience signs of bad egg quality, you can consider different treatment options for egg quality. Poor egg quality can be assessed through an egg quality test and treated with fertility treatments and medications.
Another treatment is in vitro fertilisation or IVF.
Your gynaecologist or fertility specialist may also suggest how to improve egg quality through lifestyle changes such as a fertility diet to improve egg quality.
2. What causes poor egg quality?
Poor egg quality may be caused by various factors, such as an abnormal number of chromosomes and chromosomal disorders. The factors include age (usually above 35 years), genetic disorders, and other health conditions like endometriosis.
The cause can be better determined through an egg quality test.
3. How can you tell a woman’s egg quality?
There are different ways to assess a woman’s egg quality based on the signs of bad egg quality. Egg quality tests can include hormonal tests for FSH, estradiol, and AMH. It can also be assessed with a transvaginal ultrasound. This can serve as an indicator of how to improve egg quality.
4. How do you know you have poor egg quality?
Frequently occurring losses, infertility, or unsuccessful IVF rounds might all be signs of poor egg quality. A high FSH level, early menopause, and irregular menstrual periods are common symptoms. To provide a more precise diagnosis, fertility doctors evaluate the quality of the egg using hormone tests, ultrasound scans, and even genetic screening.
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