Look After Your Future Fertility
You are born with all the eggs you have so what you do during your youth can affect their quality and potentially your chances of having a baby later.
You are born with 1 to 2 million eggs and by the time you are a teenager you have around 400,000 eggs left. Only around 400 of your eggs will naturally ovulate.
Each month you usually ovulate one egg, the egg that ovulates has taken 90 days to grow to maturity. The egg is chosen to be the dominant egg at the start of your period and the other eggs that were growing alongside the dominant egg undergo atresia which means they die.
Atresia of your eggs is affected by your genetics and your lifestyle. Women who have undergone early menopause or have a low egg bank often give birth to girls that are also at risk of having a lower egg bank. There is also a genetic condition called Fragile X which is associated with lower egg bank and early menopause.
Atresia of your eggs is affected by lifestyle as well. Smoking cigarettes, illicit drugs and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, lowers the number and quality of your eggs. Babies born from women who are smokers may have long term health issues and are also born with a lower egg bank.
Healthy lifestyle can protect your eggs from damage and improve their quality. Endocrine disrupters such as BPA (bisphenol A) can lower your egg quality and can affect ovulation and may be linked to infertility and increased risk of miscarriage. BPA is found in water bottles, baby bottles, make-up such as some lipsticks and eyeshadow, food containers and inner lining of tinned food.
Diet and Exercise affect your egg quality. Being underweight or overweight affects your ovulation and ultimately lowers your chance to conceive. Obesity is linked to poor egg quality due to the increased Oxidative Stress on the eggs which is then linked to infertility and increased miscarriage.
Eating a diet rich in organic foods is the best for your health and future fertility. Pesticides are also known as endocrine disrupters but sometimes it is not always possible to eat organic. Here is a list of the Clean 15 (less exposure to the effects of pesticides as less absorption through the food’s skin) and Dirty dozen (prone to pesticide absorption).
Dirty Dozen: Strawberries, spinach, kale, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery and potatoes.
Clean 15: avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, frozen sweet peas, onions, papayas, eggplants, asparagus, kiwis, cabbages, cauliflower, cantaloupes, broccoli, mushrooms and melons.
If you are concerned about your “Egg Bank” you should see your doctor to get an egg bank assessment. This will include a blood test to measure your anti-mullerian hormone (a hormone produced by your eggs) and a pelvic ultrasound to assess the number of follicles present in your ovaries. These results may be affected by hormonal contraception.
If your Egg Bank is low you should be referred to a Fertility Specialist to consider Fertility Preservation. Fertility preservation is where your eggs are frozen in time and do not seem to be damaged by the freezing technique called vitrification. Ideally you should freeze your eggs before you turn 35 to give you the best chance of success when you use them in the future.
Egg Freezing requires you to take a series of injections for about 10 days and then have a simple surgical procedure to extract the eggs from the ovaries through the vagina.
Whilst Fertility Preservation is a great way to look after your Future Fertility the best way you can protect your eggs from damage and depletion is to look after your health by following a healthy lifestyle and exercise program such as Strictly You.
Best wishes and remember to look after your very precious eggs as they are your future.
Dr Lynn Burmeister
For more information go to www.numnber1fertility.com