Low Ovarian Reserve: Naturopathic Treatments for Egg Quality and Fertility
Low ovarian reserve is a reduced number of follicles remaining in the ovary. It is estimated with a combined estimate from various lab tests: follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), estradiol (estrogen), anti-mullerian hormone (AMH), and antral follicle count on an ultrasound test.
An increase in FSH, decline in the antral follicle count, estradiol, and AMH levels suggests declining ovarian reserve. Factors that can lead to an accelerated decline in ovarian reserve include smoking, unhealthy diets, and genetic inheritance.
The number of follicles in the ovarian reserve cannot be changed, but there is an important factor which can be changed. As ovarian reserve declines, so does the quality of the follicles/eggs. Declining egg quality means that these follicles are now less likely to fertilize, implant, and lead to healthy pregnancies without complications.
There are several evidence based approaches to supporting egg quality for Women with low ovarian reserve or advanced maternal age.
There are many nutrients which have been shown to reverse the damage to eggs that occurs with increased age or declining reserve.
CoQ10 is one of these important nutrients, when used in the correct therapeutic concentration, it has been shown to reduce the risk of chromosomal issues in the eggs during IVF and improve the integrity of the cell wall of the eggs.
Vitamin D has an important role in increasing AMH levels and supporting optimal fertility and egg quality.
Folic acid can help to support quality of follicles as well reduce the risk of neural tube defects during pregnancy.
There are many more specialized protocols based on clinical trials which have been shown to significantly improve success rates for IVF, ICSI, IUI and natural fertility cycles for Women with low egg quality. Please consider seeing a Naturopathic Doctor to help you take the guess work out of what works and what is safe for you during fertility treatments.
An incredible role that an egg has during fertilization is that it is actually able to repair the damage to the DNA of sperm cells during. As sperm cells are incredibly vulnerable to damage, this repair of the DNA helps to provide a healthier embryo with higher chances of pregnancy. Unfortunately, this capacity to repair sperm DNA declines significantly after the age of 35 or in Women with low ovarian reserve.
It is vital, to improve the success rates of the fertility treatments, to treat the partner as well and provide a treatment which can greatly reduce the oxidative stress induced damage to sperm DNA which can lead to an increase in something called Sperm DNA Fragmentation rates. Higher sperm DNA fragmentation has been associated with a decline in IVF success rates and higher chances of miscarriage, particularly in the first trimester. Speak to your naturopathic doctor to discuss strategies and treatments to prevent this from happening or improving sperm DNA defence mechanisms.