Definition - What does Egg Quality mean?
Egg quality can be defined as the presence of genetically normal or abnormal eggs. Egg quality varies largely with a woman’s reproductive age. With advancing age, the risk for chromosomal (or genetic) abnormalities increases and the egg quality becomes poor. Egg quality is one of the most important factors that determine the success of any treatment for infertility. Good-quality eggs are capable of being fertilized and producing a healthy embryo. Women with poor quality eggs have a hard time getting pregnant.
FertilitySmarts explains Egg Quality
It is believed that as a woman ages, her eggs also age. That is why younger women have better chances of conception. In contrast, women who have crossed their 40s are generally not considered to have sufficient good-quality eggs capable of fertilization and/or producing healthy embryos. Moreover, an egg with genetic or chromosomal abnormalities is considered to be a poor-quality egg as it is incapable of implanting appropriately, or thriving adequately, resulting in miscarriage and IVF failure. These chromosomal abnormalities increase significantly with aging. This is true even if there are good numbers of eggs. Additionally, women with poor-quality eggs require high doses of medications during an IVF cycle.
In addition to age, factors that can contribute to poor quality eggs include:
- High insulin levels such as in polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Certain pelvic infections
- Extensive adhesions around the ovaries
- Ovarian surgery
- Genital tuberculosis
- Some women are born with ovaries that do not have the capability to produce quality eggs. Women with this condition fail to reach puberty and usually never have a period.
Egg quality is determined by measuring hormonal levels of the fluid present in the ovarian follicles. High levels of follicular hormones such as estradiol, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH) indicate the presence of high-quality eggs.