How to Improve Egg Quality: Is it Really Possible?

Spread the love

If you are trying to conceive, this is probably a burning question for you: Can egg quality be improved? The short answer here is technically no. But leading a healthy lifestyle can improve your overall chances of a healthy pregnancy. 

There are a ton of factors that affect your healthy egg development and your egg quantity besides genetics. And making healthy choices can boost your fertility even though you can’t truly improve your egg quality. 

Stick around for a few minutes here to learn more about what egg quality is and how it affects your ability to get pregnant. 

What is egg quality?

Egg quality has to do with your chromosomes. A chromosomally “normal” egg (euploid) is good quality. A chromosomally “abnormal” egg (aneuploid) is poor quality. 

Here’s a quick refresher on genetics: In a quality egg, there are 23 chromosomes. When a healthy sperm (which will also have 23 chromosomes) fertilizes the egg, the result is a chromosomally normal embryo. For a total of 46 chromosomes. 

If you have poor egg quality, that means you have an increased chance of chromosomally abnormal eggs. This will make it more challenging to conceive. 

Your egg quality and age

Let’s go back to the beginning. When you are born, you have a fixed number of eggs in your ovaries. The number of eggs you begin with is influenced mainly by genetics. So the number varies greatly among women. But estimates put this initial reserve between 35,000 and 2.5 million follicles. 

Your ovarian reserve decreases as you get older. And sadly, with age, your eggs have a higher chance of being abnormal. As you grow older, follicular atresia can occur. This is when your follicles break down instead of generating oocytes. The cell division process can also get wonky with chromosomes not lining up properly.

Both of these issues lead to aneuploidy. Aneuploidy refers to a zygote that has too few or too many chromosomes (usually 45 or 47). All of these factors are why you hear it is more challenging to have a healthy pregnancy as you get older. 

Just to put this into perspective, here are some statistics about your egg quality as you age.

Maternal Age

Percent of eggs considered high-quality








Depends on when menopause begins

There can be more challenges with getting pregnant as you age. For example, the risk of trisomy 21 increases for women over 40. But there are countless examples of women around the world who have healthy babies even as they age. So it is definitely possible! 

Having a healthy pregnancy is even more of a possibility when you lead a healthy lifestyle. And thankfully, that part is mostly within your control.  Keep reading to see what lifestyle factors can improve your chances of pregnancy.

What affects your egg quality?

As you can imagine, there are a ton of factors that can affect your egg quality. Most of these have to do with mutagens affecting chromosomes. Mutagens are substances that cause genetic mutation. And unfortunately, in the modern world, there is quite the laundry list of mutagens. 

  • Antibiotics: No conclusive data has yet to show a direct link between antibiotics and egg quality. But some studies have found a correlation between antibiotics and sperm quality. Research has also shown a correlation between antibiotics and a woman’s hormones and menstrual cycle. So it’s best to check with your doctor if you are trying to get pregnant while on antibiotics. 
  • Radiation: Exposure to intense radiation such as certain cancer treatments is known to cause premature ovarian failure. If you will be undergoing treatments like chemotherapy or radiotherapy, your doctor will discuss your options for egg freezing. 
  • Caffeine and alcohol: An observational study found positive fertility outcomes for women who abstained from alcohol and consumed less caffeine. In fact, the rate of pregnancy for women who had one or fewer cups of coffee and no alcohol was 26.9 per 100 menstrual cycles. But for women who had any amount of alcohol or more than a cup’s worth of coffee had a reduced pregnancy rate of 10.5 per 100 menstrual cycles.  
  • Cigarette smoke: Smoking cigarettes can lead to premature follicular depletion. It may also speed up the onset of menopause by up to 4 years. This is all due to the oxidative stress that smoking tobacco puts on the reproductive system, especially the ovaries.

Other factors that affect egg quality:

  • Endometriosis: The symptoms of endometriosis lead to poor oocyte quality. Oocyte just refers to female reproductive cells that mature into follicles. Based on a 2017 study, researchers recommend that women with endometriosis undergo ICSI rather than traditional IVF to improve fertility outcomes. 
  • PCOS: A study of women with PCOS undergoing ART showed that PCOS leads to a higher number of oocytes. But this did not impact the rate of pregnancy success. What they did find though was that lowering cholesterol levels seemed to be correlated to ART success rates in these women. 
  • Lifestyle: Certain lifestyle habits can also affect your egg quality. For example, high stress levels, inadequate sleep, and a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to overall fertility struggles. On the flip side, getting enough exercise and Omega-3s can boost your fertility and egg health. 

Ways to improve egg quality

Remember, there is no tried and true way to improve egg quality. A lot of the quality has to do with your genetics and your ovarian reserve. These are not factors you can change. But there are some methods women have tried over time that may lead to slight improvements. 

Research is still being done to confirm the effects of these methods. But that doesn’t mean it hurts to try them in the meantime! Especially since the steps listed below can help with your overall health and well-being.

Consume a healthy diet with omega-3 fatty acids

The human diet has changed significantly in recent decades. One particular aspect that has changed is an increase in the consumption ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. A 2012 study of mice revealed that consuming a diet higher in omega-3 fatty acids had a positive impact on egg quality and the female reproductive lifespan. Cold water fish and fish oil are high in omega-3 fatty acids. But you can also find them in healthy foods like walnuts, flaxseeds, leafy greens, and vegetable oils. 

Exercise and maintain a healthy weight

Exercising and moving your body throughout the day has so many great benefits for your health. Now, don’t take this the wrong way. You don’t need to do a high-intensity workout every day. Unless that’s what you love. But find an activity that you enjoy that allows your body to move. And make sure to do that activity several times a week. This will boost your mood and improve blood flow. Blood circulation is critical for reproductive processes. Exercise also helps manage your weight and BMI which is important for fertility.

Catch plenty of zzz’s

Getting enough sleep is crucial for healthy bodily functions, including reproduction. Being deprived of sleep can increase your stress levels which has detrimental effects on your health and egg quality. 


High levels of stress lead to increased cortisol production. This then messes with hormonal balance in your ovaries. So ultimately, stress negatively impacts your fertility because it harms your egg quality and follicle growth. So for the sake of your eggs, make sure to find ways to de-stress. This could mean taking a relaxing bath, getting extra sleep, or going for a walk. Find what works for you. 


Drinking plenty of fluids (especially water) is so important for your overall health. Hydration also helps your body with cell growth which is an important process for egg quality and reproduction. Try to avoid hydrating with fluids high in sugar or artificial sweeteners. For example, say no to sodas, fruit juices, and energy drinks. 

Monitor your blood cholesterol levels 

High cholesterol levels can have a detrimental impact on your health, including your reproductive health. A recent study revealed a connection between reduced blood cholesterol levels and successful assisted reproductive outcomes. To lower your cholesterol, you should consume less refined carbs and saturated fats. Instead, eat more veggies, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and omega-3 fatty acids. 

Try certain supplements to improve your egg quality

Are you wondering what supplement improves egg quality? There is a supplement called coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) which positively affects mitochondrial function. In a 2018 study of 169 women, researchers saw increased fertility outcomes for the women who were pretreated with CoQ10. These included increased fertilization rates and higher numbers of quality embryos. Be sure to consult your doctor though before taking any supplements.

Stay away from triggers

Limit your exposure to triggering substances. These include alcohol, tobacco, excessive caffeine, and radiation. All of these have a negative impact on your overall health and could weaken your egg quality. Minimize, or ideally eliminate, their usage to give yourself the best chance of a healthy pregnancy. 

Limit your exposure to chemicals like BPA

In this day and age, we are surrounded by synthetic chemicals. One of the most harmful ones is bisphenol A (BPA). BPA has a negative effect on your hormone regulation. And it has been proven to cause harm to both egg quality and sperm quality. You will often find this in plastics (like sandwich bags and to-go containers). Stay away from materials containing BPA. Good alternatives are paper bags or glass containers. 

Checking your egg quantity

Another aspect of egg health that is important for fertility is your egg quantity. This is also known as your ovarian reserve. The screenings listed below can give you helpful information about your egg reserve. However, they do not directly tell you if you will be able to conceive naturally or have a healthy pregnancy. 

Some tests like the FSH screening can be done at home. Other tests will need to be done by a physician or fertility specialist. 

Here are three screening tests that help you check for egg quantity:

  • AMH (anti-Müllerian hormone): The anti-Müllerian hormone is a hormone produced in your ovaries that helps regulate follicle growth. To screen for AMH levels, you will need to get a blood test done. Generally, higher AMH levels mean a higher ovarian reserve. Lower AMH levels indicate a diminished ovarian reserve (DOR). But AMH levels can also give information about oocyte quality as well. The results can be complicated to read, so you should have a doctor explain your labs to you.
    Learn More: Boosting Fertility: Guide to Naturally Increasing AMH Levels
  • FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone): The follicle-stimulating hormone is produced by your pituitary gland. This is located in your brain. Your FSH levels vary throughout your cycle and as you age. But there are general ranges that are considered “normal.” If you have FSH levels that are too high or too low, then you will likely experience challenges when TTC. At the peak of your cycle, your FSH levels will be up to 25 mU/ml.  
    Learn More: Boost Your Ovarian Reserve: How to Reduce High FSH Levels 
  • AFC (antral follicle count): Your AFC refers to the number of follicles in the ovary. Each cycle, you have many follicles in your ovary, but only one will mature. This becomes the egg that you release that cycle when you ovulate. If you have low AFC, you may not be able to mature an egg that cycle. A doctor or fertility specialist can see your antral follicle count by performing a transvaginal ultrasound. 

Egg quantity vs. egg quality

To eliminate any remaining confusion you may have, let’s tackle this question: What is the difference between egg quality and egg quantity?

Quantity refers to the number of follicles contained by your ovaries that have the capacity to mature into a released egg. And quality refers to the chromosomal makeup of those follicles. 

When to consult a doctor

When it comes to checking with your doctor about your egg quality, the earlier, the better.  Time is not your friend here. Each cycle, your ovarian reserve decreases. And the tests you can get to screen for egg quality are minimally invasive for the most part. 

One reason you would definitely want to consult a physician is if you are over 30 and struggling to conceive. Nowadays, there are many medical technologies that can help with infertility and poor egg quality. 

You may consider having your eggs frozen if you plan to delay TTC. And assisted reproductive techniques like IUI, IVF, and IVF-ICSI can dramatically improve fertility outcomes even for can dramatically improve fertility outcomes for women with poor egg quality or decreased ovarian reserve. If your egg quality is not optimal, donor eggs or surrogacy can also provide hope for growing your family.

FAQs about how to improve egg quality

Still have more questions about improving your egg quality? Read these commonly asked questions (and their answers!) below. 

Can you get pregnant with average quality eggs?

Technically yes. Because all it takes for a healthy pregnancy is one healthy egg. But if you have poor quality eggs, you are less likely to ovulate a healthy egg in any given cycle. Poor quality eggs have chromosomal defects that will make implantation difficult. And pregnancies resulting from poor quality eggs can end in early miscarriage. 

How can I increase my egg count and quality naturally?

There’s not really a tried and true way of improving your egg count. You have a certain number of eggs when you are born. And that number continues to drop off as you age. But there are some natural ways women have tried to increase their healthier eggs. These include getting plenty of sleep, de-stressing, staying hydrated, consuming a healthy diet free of processed foods, and avoiding harmful environmental toxins. 

Is there a test for egg quality?

Sort of! There are three main screenings that you can get done to test your ovarian reserve. No single test can directly test for your egg quality specifically. But tests like FSH, AMH, and AFC give you a picture of your egg reserve. This indirectly gives you information about your egg quality. 

Does CoQ10 really help egg quality?

Possibly! More research with larger randomized trials would give a better picture of the impact of CoQ10 on egg quality. But one study of 169 women did indicate a link between CoQ10 and improvements in ovarian response and embryo quality.  

How does your environment affect egg quality?

Environmental toxins can negatively impact your reproductive hormones. This can lead to negative effects on female egg quality. This is why it is best to eliminate, or at least decrease, your exposure to harmful substances and chemicals. These include cigarette smoke, BPA, and radiation. 

Takeaways for how to improve egg health

  • You are born with a certain number of eggs when you are born. This reserve decreases as you get older.
  • Your egg quality declines as you age as well. This is why advanced maternal age poses challenges for overall fertility.
  • There are several types of screenings you can get done to assess the quantity and quality of your ovarian reserve. These are FSH, AMH, and AFC.
  • Taking steps to improve your overall health and avoid environmental toxins may help with improving egg quality.
  • Some research shows possible ways to improve egg quality. But genetics remain the biggest factor.
  • Consult your doctor if you are concerned about your egg quality. A doctor or fertility specialist can also discuss your options for ART or egg freezing. 

Related Contents