Fertility: Egg Quality & Ovarian Reserve

If you are  trying to conceive or have been told you have poor egg quality or low ovarian reserve (like I was!) then keep reading as this post is for you. I am going to share with you some important tips on improving your egg quality and ovarian reserve in order to help increase your chances of conceiving naturally.

So firstly, lets cover what exactly low ovarian reserve is. Ovarian reserve refers to the quantity and quality of a woman’s eggs, these factors may be age related or they may be related to life style choices.

If you have been told that you have low ovarian reserve it is important to know that low ovarian reserve can be caused by many different factors, some are age related and others are lifestyle related. The good news is that low ovarian reserve is reversible and can be treated through diet, life styles changes, nutrition, herbal medicine and supplements.

For me, my fertility journey lasted 12 months before conceiving my daughter and during that time I was told that I had less than a 30% chance of conceiving naturally. At that time I wish that someone had of explained to me that poor egg health and low ovarian reserve could be caused by a number of factors,  I was in my late 30’s at the time I just assumed that it was due to my age and there was nothing I could do about it. But truth be told all I really needed to do was manage my stress levels and balance my hormones. I had been on the pill for a long period of time and was working full time as well as studying.

When I found out that the biggest factors impacting ovarian reserve and egg quality included things like:

·       Stress and adrenal fatigue

·       Being over 40

·       Hormonal imbalances such as high FSH, Low Progesterone and High Estrogen

·       Being on birth control pills for a long period of time

·       Under functioning thyroid

·       Fertility medications

I realised that I need to make some changes and start a new treatment plan to heal my body.

It is often assumed that as a woman ages her eggs age with her and her reserve diminishes. Being over 40 doesn’t necessarily mean that you have poor egg quality and low ovarian reserve and being under 40 doesn’t mean you have good egg quality and good ovarian reserve. The quality of your eggs is dependent on lifestyle, diet, stress levels, and levels of toxicity in the body.

Many women have also been taking the pill for a number of years when they decide to start trying for a baby and this can also have a negative impact on fertility as it makes the ovaries lazy, basically the ovaries have been told not to ovulate for a long period of time so when they all of the sudden need to start ovulating it can take time for them to wake up and they may need some support, which can also be done naturally.

Eating a healthy diet can improve your fertility and lower your risk of miscarriage as it increases your chances of making good quality eggs, a diet rich in anti-oxidants decreases free radicals which causes aging and improves your DNA.

In the months leading up to conception I highly recommended a fertility cleanse and a detox for both partners, it is important for the male to improve his sperm quality also.

Following a fertility diet can improve egg quality and balance hormones, it includes foods and supplements such as:

·       Leafy Green vegetables

·       Good quality proteins (grass fed meats, organic poultry, wild caught salmon)

·       Healthy Fats (avocado, nuts and seeds, eggs)

·       MACA powder

·       Royal Jelly

·       CoQ10 (anti-oxidant)

These are all important when it comes to fertility and stimulating good quality eggs.

I will talk more about fertility cleanses and detoxes in upcoming posts, but it is also important to remove alcohol, coffee, and refined sugars as they foods can imbalance hormones.

Having balanced hormones is vital when it comes to conception, and when talking about poor ovarian response. Testing levels of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) is how ovarian function is measured and this can be done via a blood test.  A high reading suggests poor ovarian reserve, it means that the pituitary gland needs to produce high amounts of FSH in order to stimulate an egg to mature. Having high FSH is not the cause of poor ovarian function, it is just the body’s natural response to it.

So, in order to improve your egg health and ovarian reserve here are some tips to help you conceive naturally:

1.     Undergo a fertility cleanse, cleanse your body of toxins, heavy metals and rebalance your microbiome.

2.     Clean up your diet, quit coffee, alcohol, sugar and start a fertility diet as discussed above.

3.     Remove processed foods, trans fats and take away foods.

4.     Supplement with CoQ10, L-Arginine, NAC, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Royal Jelly, MACA, high quality prenatal vitamin with folate (not folic acid, more on that later!)

5.     Reduce your stress levels, yoga, meditation, walking.

6.     Avoid high intensity exercises and anything that will increase your cortisol levels.

7.     Stay hydrated, drink at least 2 litres of water every day.

8.     Start on herbal medicines such as Vitex Agnus Castus to balance hormones and reduce FSH.

9.     And patience is also key as it can take up to 3 months to improve egg quality.

Trying to conceive is a personal journey and we all need our own plan. The best thing to do is to book an appointment with me so we can start with a treatment plan that includes a fertility cleanse and detox for both partners.