Improve your odds of a successful egg retrieval by following these eight tips
Embarking on your journey to a successful egg retrieval can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. Whether you’re pursuing in vitro fertilization or considering elective egg freezing as a proactive fertility preservation step, proper preparation can improve egg quality and ovarian function to help you get pregnant sooner, improve your odds in IVF, and prevent miscarriage.
Leading up to your egg retrieval, many lifestyle choices can help you correct hormone and nutrient deficiencies, balance blood sugar, and reduce inflammation. To help you navigate a successful egg retrieval, here are our recommended eight tips to your best, successful egg retrieval yet.
- Plan ahead – Improving egg quality and ovarian function can’t happen overnight. You are born with all the eggs you will ever have and these eggs wait in a pre-immature state until your hormones signal a few to begin the maturation process leading up to ovulation. The process to maturation typically takes around 80-90 days, and during this time the steps you take to improve the quality of your eggs will have an impact. So, giving yourself enough to make a difference is crucial. Most reproductive specialists recommend a good three months’ worth of preparations to improve egg quality and ovarian function.
- Eat fertility-friendly – Our fertility team recommends a Mediterranean diet that emphasizes whole, natural foods in place of processed carbohydrates. Research from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists found that protein-rich, low-carb diets with full-fat dairy products and minimal trans fats and simple sugars can improve fertility by rebalancing hormones, reducing inflammation, and getting more of the nutrients needed to support egg quality. We’ve recorded a great podcast episode, Episode 8: Diet & Fertility, that can get you on the right track.
- Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana and vaping – Along with following a fertility-friendly diet, you should also largely abstain from alcohol and smoking. Evidence is conclusive that heavy drinking, smoking cigarettes and marijuana diminishes ovarian reserve. And while the jury is still out on vaping, we think it best to avoid introducing any unknown chemicals into your body during this critical time of egg development.
- Engage in moderate exercise – Exercise is also important, and the good news is that you don’t need to go all out to achieve improved ovarian function. Researchers have found that moderate, low-impact movement for just five hours per week leads to the best fertility outcomes. Heavy, strenuous exercise can sometimes cause ovulation issues. So, think Pilates, yoga, and hiking rather than training for a marathon. We have another great podcast episode on this subject, Episode 16: Exercise and Eggs.
- Decrease stress – Undergoing an egg retrieval can be emotionally taxing. Prior to the procedure, take time to nurture your emotional and mental well-being. Engage in activities that bring you joy, practice relaxation techniques, and consider seeking emotional support through therapy or support groups, if needed. Some good options here are yoga, meditation, and even acupuncture.
- Get proper sleep – Don’t forget about how important sleep is to your body. While we don’t understand the complete relationship between sleep and reproduction, we do know that the same part of our brain that regulates hormones responsible for our sleep-wake cycle also triggers the release of reproductive hormones. As a result, lack of sleep could interfere with the hormones linked to many of our reproductive processes.
- Supplement with supplements – Adding supplements to support energy production in developing eggs is also a smart step to take to achieve a successful egg retrieval. Every woman trying to conceive should take a prenatal vitamin that includes folic acid as well as a fish oil supplement that contains Omega 3 fatty acids. And, if you are over 33, our fertility specialists recommend adding DHEA, Co-Enzyme Q10 (stop this once you get pregnant), and Vitamin D. Research shows that Co-Enzyme Q10 can improve ovarian reserve and increase AMH-positive follicle count, while DHEA increases antral follicle count, which in turn causes AMH to rise. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to fertility issues including low AMH, along with polycystic ovary syndrome and endometriosis.
- Avoid endocrine disruptors – Minimizing your exposure to environmental chemicals that are known to be endocrine disruptors is also very important as you work towards a successful egg retrieval. Endocrine disruptors—found in plastics, makeup, ATM receipts, pesticides, food, detergent, toys, and just about everywhere—have a negative impact on egg quality. The biggest toxins you need to watch out for are things made with BPA (Bisphenol A), parabens, and phthalates. Check your skincare, makeup, and hair care to make sure they are free from these. It’s also a good idea to avoid pesticides by thoroughly washing produce, use only glass food storage containers, dust your home often to pick up pollutants and chemicals that leach out of everyday products like furniture and clothing, and consider purchasing a water filter and air purifier.
Three months to great eggs
Preparing for an egg retrieval largely involves focusing on your body and your environment by making fertility-friendly choices. By following these proactive tips to prepare at least three months in advance, you can enhance your overall experience and realize a successful egg retrieval. Remember, each individual’s journey is unique, so be kind to yourself and prioritize self-care throughout the process.
Have further questions about how to make your next egg retrieval a success, contact us for a consultation.