How to Improve Egg Quality for Pregnancy

Wondering how to improve egg quality so you can get pregnant? You’ve come to the right place! 

If you’re among the many women facing fertility struggles, you’re not alone. Today, we’re exploring this important question: Can you improve egg quality and boost your chances of getting pregnant? Research suggests you can.

This blog will uncover how specific foods and nutrients can help enhance fertility by balancing cycles, improving egg quality, and more. 

Stick around for the insights you need.

Medical disclaimer: There is growing evidence that nutrition can play an important role in fertility, but it is not the only factor. Also, nutrition is not an effective method of birth control. Please see your healthcare professional or book an appointment with me to discuss your personal needs and goals when it comes to reproductive health.

What Does Egg Quality Mean?

Poor egg quality refers to an abnormal number of chromosomes in an egg cell, usually resulting from errors during cell division. In humans, a normal cell has 46 chromosomes, with 23 inherited from each parent. 

An abnormal number of chromosomes affects about 10–25% of eggs in women in their early 30s and more than 50% in women over 40. Most aneuploid eggs cannot develop to term upon fertilization, making aneuploidy in eggs a leading cause of pregnancy loss and birth defects.

Why is egg quality so important?

Egg quality is an important consideration at any point in a fertility journey, particularly if trying to conceive in your 30s and 40s because of increasing chromosomal errors in our egg cells, if considering egg freezing, or if undergoing IVF.

Egg quality is a key determinant of fertility in women and one of the 3 main elements needed to conceive besides sperm and the uterus. Egg quality influences fertilization, embryo development, implantation success, risk of miscarriage, risk of birth defects, and the lifelong health of your future child. 

Signs of poor egg quality

  • Age: as you age, egg quality naturally declines.
  • Recurrent Miscarriage: multiple miscarriages could signify egg quality concerns.
  • Day 3 estrogen >50 ng/mL can be an indicator of poor egg quality.
  • Low progesterone levels < 15 ng/dl or 50 nmol/L.
  • Short Luteal Phase: A luteal phase of 10 days or less may indicate egg quality issues.
  • Irregular Cycles/Infrequent Ovulation: Poor egg quality can impact your cycle.
  • Low/Inconsistent basal body temperate or BBT in the Luteal Phase: Linked to low progesterone and egg quality.
  • Unsuccessful IVF transfers can be one of the Signs of poor egg quality in IVF, but this doesn’t mean we have to ignore the role of sperm. 
  • Fewer embryos making it to the blastocyst stage is one of the Signs of poor egg quality in IVF.

How to test egg quality

Doctors typically rely on fertilization and pregnancy outcomes to indicate egg quality when trying to conceive naturally. Your doctor may also consider the FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) test which measures how hard your body has to work to produce a mature egg or oocyte.

AMH ( Anti-Mullerian hormone) test is another blood test you doctor may run as a marker of ovarian reserve. But It doesn’t tell you anything about egg quality either. The immature follicles in the ovaries produce AMH which can be higher in women with PCOS who don’t ovulate frequently. Your AMH results can predict how you will respond to ovarian stimulation meds, but it’s not a marker of egg quality. it only takes one good egg to conceive!

If you have low AMH – look into vitamin D deficiency as it may help influence some levels of AMH. The optimal Vitamin D for fertility and pregnancy is between 50-80 ng/ml.

The Aurora test measures the quality of your eggs by analyzing the cumulus cells that surround the egg. The company that created this test claims that It predicts which egg has the highest potential to become a baby. This test is not available everywhere and is only helpful for those trying to conceive with assisted reproductive technology like IVF or ICSI. 

What is the fertility diet to improve egg quality? 

A fertility diet to improve egg quality is nutrient-rich, anti-inflammatory in nature like the Mediterranean diet. Inflammation is a normal process your body uses to help it heal from infections and injuries. However, regularly consuming inflammatory foods can result in long-term, low-grade inflammation that may negatively impact egg quality. 

anti-inflammatory foods. implantation foods

Inflammation is one of the root causes of conditions such as endometriosis and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), and it reduces egg quality, the ability of a fertilized egg to implant, and increases the risk of miscarriage. Also, people who eat more inflammatory diets that are higher in fast foods and sugary drinks, and lower in fruits and vegetables may take longer to become pregnant than those with healthier dietary patterns.

Anti-inflammatory dietary patterns may increase chances of having successful pregnancies whether using fertility treatments like IVF or trying to conceive naturally. Women who eat a Mediterranean diet seek medical help for infertility only about half as often as those who don’t eat this way. 

Anti-inflammatory diets like the Mediterranean diet (but also, the Prudent, Nordic, and Okinawan diets) are nutrient-rich and anti-inflammatory because they contain a lot of:

  • Fruits.
  • Vegetables.
  • legumes.
  • Whole grains.
  • Poultry.

They may also include fish, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and wholefood soy-based foods in moderation. You may consume dairy products, red or processed meats, and sweets in smaller amounts. 

In general, anti-inflammatory diets are high in unsaturated and omega-3 fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and are low in sugars, refined carbohydrates, and saturated and trans fats. If you’re looking for ways to include more Mediterranean meals in your diet check out our Mediterranean-inspired and anti-inflammatory meal plan, the 28-Day Fertility Diet Meal Plan.

Top egg-quality foods to improve Female egg quality

Beyond following a nutrient-rich, anti-inflammatory fertility dietary pattern like the Mediterranean diet, there are several interesting links between specific egg-quality foods and nutrients shown to improve female egg quality.

  • Seafood is rich in omega-3 fatty acids shown to improve egg quality and can delay ovarian aging in women over the age of 35. When choosing seafood for egg quality and a healthy pregnancy, it’s important to remember that not all seafood is created equal. 

If you are trying to get pregnant, focus on seafood that is lower in persistent environmental chemicals and mercury. This means eating smaller fish like salmon, anchovies, sardines, scallops, and shrimp while staying away from larger, predatory fish like sharks, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. 

This Mediterranean Shrimp Packet Meal is a perfectly delicious way to incorporate more seafood into your weekly dinner menu. If you’re not a fan of fish consider a high-quality fish oil supplement like FullWell Fish Oil

  • Spinach is a rich source of folate which is an important antioxidant for egg maturation and embryo implantation.
  • Brazil nuts are excellent sources of  Selenium which can promote a healthy environment for egg production.
  • Oysters are full of zinc which is important for egg production and maturation.
  • Get enough Vitamin B12 foods: people with the highest B12 levels in their blood (more than 701pg/mL) were 1.43 times more likely to get pregnant, 1.3 times more likely to have successful implantation, and 2.04 times more likely to have a live birth compared to those with the lowest B12 levels (less than 439 pg/mL). These things can’t happen when egg quality is suboptimal. Levels lower than 200 pg/ml indicate deficiency and can impair the development of the egg. According to the National Institutes of Health, adults should aim for 2.4 mcg of Vitamin B12 each day, 2.6 mcg if pregnant, and 2.8 mcg if breastfeeding. Vitamin B12 is naturally present in animal foods (meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy), fortified breakfast cereals, and nutritional yeasts, however, the body absorbs more Vitamin B12 from dietary supplements than from foods. I love the FullWell prenatal multivitamin, you can use my code FUELINGFERTILITY10 for 10% off your first order.
  • Soy isoflavones: the impact of soy on fertility has been studied because soy is the main source of plant-based estrogens (estrogen is a reproductive hormone). Most studies done in humans show that it does not have a harmful effect (despite some initial animal studies) and in fact, soy may be helpful for fertility. There is a growing association of successful pregnancies for women who consume soy or isoflavone supplements, particularly for women who are also using fertility treatments.

This Silken Tofu Scramble recipe is a great way to include more soy into your fertility diet meal plan. 

What to avoid to improve egg quality fast 

Reduce intake of artificial trans fats

In addition to getting more healthy omega-3 fats from seafood, reducing the intake of less-healthy trans fats may help with fertility as well. According to researchers at Harvard, trans fats are related to lower fertility in women.

Trans fats are artificially created when unsaturated fats are processed to become partially hydrogenated. Hydrogenation is done during the manufacturing process to change liquid oils into solid fats at room temperature. 

The good news is that these artificial trans fats (“partially hydrogenated oils”) are being phased out of the food supply in the U.S. because of their detrimental effects on heart health. When it comes to trans fats in dairy, there do not seem to be any negative effects on fertility for women who regularly consume dairy products.

Cut down on sodas and energy drinks

Several studies show that both women who consume sugar-sweetened beverages—especially sodas or energy drinks—tend to have lower fertility than those who don’t drink them. 

The reduced fertility was found at levels as low as seven drinks per week (about one per day). The good news is that these fertility effects do not seem to translate to those who enjoy diet sodas and fruit juice.

A possible reason for this link may be that sugar may interfere with women’s reproductive hormones, egg maturation, and ovulation. I shared some delicious fertility-friendly infused water recipes in THIS Instagram post to help you reduce your intake of sugary drinks. 

Supplements and Vitamins for egg quality

A recent study from Harvard found that certain nutrients have positive effects on women who are trying to conceive.

Folate Supplement

Research shows that taking a higher daily dose of folate, 800mcg instead of 400mcg, resulted in a 20% higher chance of having a baby. We prefer methylfolate over folic acidfor fertility issues and unknown genetic variations in folate metabolism.

Methylfolate is better absorbed , doesn’t hide a deficiency of vitamin B12 on a blood test, and is more effective in reducing homocysteine levels, a substance in the blood that at high levels has been associated with infertility and miscarriage.

Folate is crucial for women’s fertility because it helps make DNA and RNA in the body. These are vital for good reproduction and egg quality, helping ensure a healthy pregnancy.

Again, my go-to is  FullWell prenatal multivitamin, Save 10% off on your first purchase with the code FUELINGFERTILITY10.

Disclaimer: The FullWell link is an affiliate link, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps support the blog and allows me to continue to create content like this. Thank you for your support!

You should personalize egg-quality supplements based on your overall health status, diet and lifestyle, age, test results, and stage of trying to conceive. A certified fertility nutritionist and dietitian can help you create a regimen that best suits your needs.

How to improve egg quality after 40 to get and stay pregnant? 

Yes, age is a big factor when it comes to egg quality and quantity. But, age is just one factor! Oxidative stress and higher levels of free radicals are responsible for causing damage to egg quality as we age. 

Even though following a fertility diet and healthy lifestyle can’t fix damaged eggs, they can protect maturing eggs from oxidative damage. As long as you are still ovulating you can successfully conceive on your own with your eggs. 

And if you’re wondering how to improve egg quality for IVF which is common with advanced age, the answer is the same. Protecting your eggs from DNA damage caused by free radicals with a lot of antioxidant foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and whole grains is a priority. 

How long does it take to improve egg quality?

I know you wanted to be pregnant like yesterday so it makes sense to wonder if you can improve egg quality in 30 days. However, If there is one main takeaway from the growing research linking nutrition and fertility, it’s that adopting an overall healthier diet at minimum 3 months before conception is beneficial—for both women and men, as well as your future child. 

Why 3 months or 90 days? Because it takes about 3 months for the egg you ovulate and conceive with today to go from an immature egg to ovulation. 

Bottom line

I hope you now have some practical tips on how to improve your egg quality for pregnancy. Focusing on a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diet that is high in egg-quality foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, poultry, seafood, and healthier oils is key. 

Looking for an Egg quality diet meal plan? Don’t miss our 28-day fertility diet meal plan designed by a certified fertility dietitian to help you improve your egg quality, balance your fertility hormones like FSH and AMH, boost progesterone, balance estrogen, and reduce inflammation. Grab your egg-quality diet meal plan now

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Celine Thompson MS, RDN

I'm Celine, a registered dietitian and a certified fertility nutritionist who has overcome pregnancy losses and now empowers women and couples to take back control of their fertility journey by nourishing their bodies to restore fertility. I love mangoes, avocados, steak, salmon, rice and beans. I can eat these on repeat, Seriously! I love going down the rabbit hole of PubMed doing research with a good reality TV drama as my background noise. I'm a wife, boy mama, and also a dog mom. I'm on the mission to help you eat delicious food that nourishes your soul and body.

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