Poor egg quality

When women reach 35 it begins to be a noticeable reduction in their ovaries’ egg number and, above all, their quality. By the time they reach 40 poor quality eggs usually outnumber the healthy ones, so their pregnancy probability decreases significantly.

There is no treatment to improve oocyte quality; however, techniques such as In-Vitro Fertilization allow the extraction of multiple eggs, hoping that some of them still reach the required quality.

What is poor egg quality?

Egg quality indicates how prepared are a woman’s eggs to become healthy embryos once fertilized. In order to become a healthy embryo, the egg needs to have the appropriate chromosomes and have the ability to combine them with those of the sperm. In addition, they must have enough energy in order to grow and divide normally.

Bad quality eggs can alter the reproductive process and make the difference between carrying a pregnancy to term or not. Similarly, poor quality eggs can lead to chromosomally abnormal pregnancies and increase the risk of a genetic disorder in the baby.

Poor egg quality causes

When women reach 35 it begins to be a noticeable reduction in their ovaries’ egg number and, above all, their quality. By the time they reach 40, poor quality eggs usually outnumber the healthy ones, so their pregnancy probability decreases significantly.

Age is the most significant factor affecting egg quality in women; however, some young women may also have poor quality eggs as a result of:

  • Genetic problems
  • Immunological issues
  • Cancer Treatments
  • Smoking
  • Endometriosis
  • Obesity
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome

How is poor egg quality diagnosed?

A blood test to measure a patient’s follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and estradiol blood levels can be performed on the third day of the menstrual cycle of women in order to obtain data on ovarian response and thus estimate the quality of their eggs. High levels of FSH and estrogen can indicate low egg production and negatively affect their quality.

However, the best way to check whether a woman's eggs have the ability to grow and develop properly is through an in vitro fertilization cycle, which allows a direct egg observation followed by Preimplantational Genetic Diagnosis (PGT-A) , to detect chromosomal abnormalities in the embryo.

Treatments to achieve pregnancy in patients suffering with poor oocyte quality

There is no treatment to improve oocyte quality; however, techniques such as In-Vitro Fertilization allow the extraction of multiple eggs, hoping that some of them still reach the required quality.

If you do not have any viable eggs after treatment, In-Vitro Fertilization may resort to egg donation, an excellent alternative to achieve your dream of having a baby at home, because its success rates are not affected by a patient’s age.

It is important that couples who consider egg donation feel comfortable with the decision. At Ingenes we have an emotional support unit to support you through the process; as well as qualified personal willing to answer any questions you may have.

Consequently, since eggs are fertilized in the controlled environment of an assisted reproduction laboratory, it is possible to monitor their development through:

In the past, most embryos were transferred on a third day after fertilization since it was a challenge to keep them alive in lab conditions. Today’s technologies, however, allow us to prolong embryo culture, facilitating the selection of better quality embryos with greater implantation power. (More on prolonged embryo culture)

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis ( PGT-A ) allows us to select chromosomally normal embryos which are then transferred to the patient’s womb. Patients with poor egg quality have a higher rate of structural genetic abnormalities; however, by transferring chromosomally normal embryos, this technique maximizes the chance of embryo implantation, having a normal pregnancy and, ultimately, of having a baby at home.