April 12, 2024
7 Minutes

Can I Improve Egg Quality Before Egg Freezing?

Can I Improve Egg Quality Before Egg Freezing?
Written by
Navya Muralidhar
MSc Clinical Embryology & Embryologist
Amilis makes fertility digestible, accessible, and affordable to help you take charge of your reproductive health and live on your own timeline.

In an eggshell...

  • Even though egg quality is highly dependent on genetics, our environment and what we eat influence it greatly
  • Ensuring that you get enough exercise, eat well, and rest well is key to caring for your reproductive health
  • Ideally, you can prep for your egg-freezing cycle 3 months in advance

Remember how there’s always that prep before an exam? 

In a way, egg freezing is that way, for our eggs. Once outside the body, they have to go through the freezing process, survive it during the warming process and go through all the next stages of fertilisation, growth, and so on. 

And for that, quality is key. 

And if you’re wondering: Can I really improve my egg quality? I thought that was all about genetics! 🧬 

Well, we got news📰

There are definitely a few things that you can do from your end, to slow down or decrease the natural decline in egg quality (which happens with age). 

Backed by research, we’re going to dive into all there is to know about egg quality before freezing.

Read on!

What is a egg quality

Before we dive into the tips, let's understand what "egg quality" really means. 

Egg quality refers to the blueprint within the chromosomes. Each egg should ideally have 23 chromosomes, and any deviations in the number or the DNA can lead to genetic abnormalities. 

And If the egg has genetic abnormalities, it may show up as defects in the shape, survival rates, and response post-freezing and warming.

What's the relationship between age and egg quality?

It's natural and normal for egg quality to decline with age. That’s because as you age, the cells in your body are more prone to errors while dividing or creating new cells (and the same applies to eggs too).

And when we talk about quality, we refer to the expected percentage of the total number of eggs that are normal. Women in their 20s and 30s are more likely to have a higher percentage of normal eggs compared to women in their 40s. 

So, that one egg of the month that’s released naturally? The chances of it being genetically normal is higher in your 20s and 30s than your 40s.

Should you focus on improving egg quality?

To be honest, yes! While we can't rewrite our genetic code, or the fact that egg quality declines with age, knowing what’s bad for your overall health and preventing it can indirectly influence your egg quality.

Because some factors in our hands affect our egg quality. 

Improving egg quality can indirectly lead to improved fertilisation rates and reduced risk of genetic issues, leading to possibly healthier pregnancies.

6 tips to improve your egg quality

Now, down to the to-do list 📋 

Since your egg-freezing cycles are impacted by egg quality, we recommend that you start making these changes around 3 months before your egg-freezing cycle. 

Here’s how you can start:

1. Ditch the smoke and booze

Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are bad news for your egg quality. Smoking damages DNA and reduces blood flow to the ovaries, while alcohol disrupts hormone balance and egg development. 

It's advised to minimise or reduce these habits completely, before your egg freeIng cycle. 

2. Fuel your body right

Think of your diet as the building blocks for your overall health. Opt for a nutrient-rich diet packed with:

  • Fruits and vegetables: Antioxidants for the win!
  • Whole grains: Provides sustained energy and essential nutrients.
  • Lean protein: Supports cell growth and repair
  • Healthy fats: Found in nuts, seeds, and oily fish, they aid hormone production and cell health.

3. Bridge the gap supplements

Certain supplements can lend an extra hand:

But remember, it’s always best to consult your healthcare before starting any new supplements. This is to ensure that it doesn’t affect your current diet, and avoids any allergies.

4. De-stress and improve blood flow

Stress wreaks a mini havoc on your hormones and overall health. 

Practice relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation to keep stress at bay. Exercise also improves blood flow to the ovaries, nourishing your eggs. Consider moderate activities like brisk walking or swimming. 

Some studies suggest acupuncture might improve blood flow and hormone balance, potentially impacting egg quality. You can always have a chat with your doctor and see if this could be a good option for you.

5. Prioritise sleep

When you sleep, your body repairs and rejuvenates. Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night to support overall health and potentially improve egg quality.

6. Having a healthy BMI

A body mass index of 18.5-24.9 is recommended to increase the chances of pregnancy. This is because a higher BMI can alter the mitochondrial function of the egg, leading to oxidative stress, thus affecting egg quality. 

And like all our high school anthem said, “mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell”. Anything that affects this powerhouse can ultimately affect the quality. 

What to eat before egg freezing?

There's no magic "egg-freezing diet," unfortunately😔, but aiming for a balanced, nutritious diet is key. 

This can help set the stage for better hormonal levels, egg quality, and overall health. 

When it comes to what to actually put in our bodies before an egg-freezing cycle, here’s what you can start with:

1. Antioxidants

Berries: Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and goji berries are packed with antioxidants that combat cell damage and promote healthy egg development.

Leafy greens: Kale, spinach, and collard greens are rich in vitamins A, C, and E, crucial for cell health and reducing inflammation.

Sweet potatoes and carrots: Beta-carotene in these vibrant veggies converts to vitamin A, essential for hormone production and egg quality.

2. Whole grains

Quinoa: This complete protein source provides all nine essential amino acids, vital for building healthy hormonal balance.

Brown rice: Rich in fibre and B vitamins, brown rice supports hormone balance and overall well-being.

Oats: A heart-healthy option, oats provide sustained energy and are a good source of iron, important for healthy blood flow to the ovaries.

3. Lean protein

Salmon: Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, salmon promotes healthy cell membranes and improves ovarian function.

Chicken breast: A low-fat protein source, chicken breast provides essential amino acids for egg development.

Lentils and beans: Plant-based protein powerhouses, lentils and beans are rich in fibre, folate, and iron, all beneficial for egg health.

4. Healthy Fats

Avocados: Monounsaturated fats in avocados support hormone production and improve blood flow.

Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds are rich in omega-3s, vitamin E, and healthy fats, all contributing to egg quality.

Olive oil: This heart-healthy fat promotes healthy circulation and nutrient absorption

5. Water as a staple

Staying adequately hydrated is crucial for overall health and egg quality. Aim for 8-10 glasses of water daily.

Ultimately, there is no steadfast rule to follow this diet. But the idea is to try and include these foods in your diet, with consistency.

While this can help you, especially in the months before your egg-freezing cycle, this can be a handy guide to knowing how the things we are exposed to and eat, impact the quality of our eggs.

Amilis, your one-stop solution to all things egg-freezing

Ultimately, your genetics has the bigger share in egg quality, but the things you do from your end also matter. And if you’re wondering why people start preparing months before their cycle- that is because knowing the right steps can help improve the outcome of your egg freezing cycle. It's important to keep in mind that these methods do not guarantee that egg quality will improve, but rather help prevent further damage egg quality.

Maybe you've already had an egg-freezing cycle. Or maybe you were just thinking about getting started. Regardless of the stage you’re in, knowing about egg quality can help you make the beneficial change at the earliest.

At Amilis, we focus on getting you the right resources for every stage of your egg-freezing journey. Be it a fertility test for you to get started with, or a clinic comparator to help you decide, our stellar team is here through it all! 

You don't have to do this alone ♥️.

References
Written by
Navya Muralidhar
MSc Clinical Embryology & Embryologist

An embryologist by degree, and an educator by heart, Navya has completed her Bachelors in Genetics, and her Masters in Embryology and now strives to deconstruct the complex, into educational and informative articles surrounding her field of interest. She's specifically focused on time-lapse technology, IVM, and pre-implantation genetics. When not writing, you can find her at her favourite or newest coffee shop in town, sketching away, or listening to a podcast.