Jumpstart Your Fertility
As an Acupuncture Physician specializing in Women’s Health and Fertility, I see many patients each and every day looking to start a family. By the time patients even consider adding acupuncture to their journey, however, most are looking to be pregnant yesterday. Our Fertility Program is designed to help couples not only conceive, but to carry to term and give birth to a happy and healthy child. In order to do this, some groundwork must be done. We call it prepping the soil for fertilization.
Egg quality plays a critical role in how long it takes to become pregnant, whether naturally or through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), and the secret is the egg’s DNA. Therefore, becoming pregnant and staying pregnant relies heavily on egg quality (DNA). Poor egg quality is significantly more common in women who have had a difficult time conceiving. High rates of chromosomal abnormalities are seen in eggs of women who have a history of multiple miscarriages, women who have had repeated IVF cycles in which embryos were transferred but no pregnancy occurred (“repeated implantation failure”), and women with PCOS. And finally, in women over the age of 35, up to one quarter of eggs are abnormal, while women over the age of 40 can have more than half of their eggs found to be chromosomally abnormal. That’s a lot of “undesirable egg quality” when trying to conceive!
Whether attempting natural conception or through IVF, chances of becoming pregnant and carrying to term is very much determined by egg quality. Luckily, egg quality is not entirely predetermined by age, or fixed in time. It can change. And the proportion of egg quality can be further influenced by nutrients, lifestyle factors you can control.
A little back story:
Conventional science has taught women for years that they are born with all the egg cells they will ever have in their lifetime, and each egg exists in a state of suspended animation until a few months before ovulation. The traditional belief that when a girl is born she is given a bank account of eggs, of which that bank account cannot be added to only withdrawn from. However, recent scientific discovery has found stem cells, found in embryos and certain adult body tissues, have the potential to grow into many different types of cells. This theory stems from a study back in 2004 encountered a specific type of germ cells called oogonial stem cells in the ovaries of mice, and when grown in a lab, generates immature egg cells.
The same immature cells isolated from adult mouse ovaries can turn into fertile eggs. Further studies in 2012 performed by a scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Edinburgh and published in PLOS genetics found the same stem cells inside female ovaries. These cells are further able to divide to generate new oocytes and become mature egg cells. This exciting discovery may also lead to new avenues for improving women’s health and fertility!
So what can you do now?
Research has shown that certain common environmental toxins can disrupt hormone balance in the body and contribute hormonal imbalances including dioxins, phthalates, PCBs, pesticides, and benzophenones. Countless clinical studies have shown that avoiding these toxins and adding specific supplements can increase the percentage of eggs that can develop into good-quality embryo, increase the percentage of embryos that implant in the uterus, and reduce the risk of early-pregnancy loss.
About 4 months prior to ovulation, a small pool of immature eggs begins to grow, and while most will die off naturally, one lead egg is selected from the pool to finish maturing. Most chromosomal errors actually occur shortly before ovulation, not during the decades-long interval between early egg development and ovulation. While the first round of meiosis begins before a girl is born, most of the chromosomal processing activity happens in the months immediately before the egg is ovulated.
In summary, for the best possible chance of becoming pregnant and delivering a healthy baby, it is best to start making these changes to your environment, diet and overall lifestyle 3-4 months even before you would like to become pregnant.
For more information about our Fertility and Prenatal Care programs please visit our website: https://www.hpjax.com/fertility-and-pregnancy/
Happy baby making!