The environment that eggs occupy during their lengthy maturation process in the ovary has an impact on what shape they are in before meeting a sperm (with or without an IVF embryologist in attendance). They need a good blood supply, the right nutrients, the right hormone signals and the capacity to supply enough energy to the embryo.
This has important implications, particularly for eggs that are coming from slightly older ovaries (and possibly for eggs coming from women with PCOS or endometriosis). While no treatment can turn back the clock, or change the DNA, the follicular and whole body environment within which the eggs develop is worth looking after.
A discussion about egg quality is usually a discussion about aging. Although it is more common in older women, you don’t have to be in your 40s to have ovaries that are not producing good quality eggs or that are not responding well to IVF drugs. Your FSH may be rising as your pituitary tries to stimulate the ovary that has become less responsive, or your AMH may be low as the follicles themselves have become less active (or there are fewer of them). Some ovaries age more quickly than others and unfortunately neither acupuncture nor Chinese herbs (nor much else) can increase the number of eggs left in the ovary or change their chromosomes.
So what can you do?
Actually quite a lot! There are a number of areas of reproductive health that can be supported by Chinese medicine. Each case will be analysed and treated individually according to your constitution, any symptoms and your life situation.