How a Simple Hormone can Increase the Number of Mature Eggs, the Fertilization Rate and Egg Quality
Preparing for an IVF is not as simple as calling in on your day 1 and starting IVF medications. There is a lot of groundwork in the 3-5 months leading up to the IVF that can help you improve your treatment outcomes. There are very basic factors, that in many cases are overlooked, even though research has continuously demonstrated that certain interventions in the prenatal period can help to improve our outcomes. One of these multiple factors which you have a certain influence over is the quality of your follicles (eggs).
Improving egg quality is a vital component to fertility treatment success. There was a time where patients had not heard of CoQ10, and sharing research with them to demonstrate how this simple nutrient has been shown to improve IVF success rates was 'out there.' Now almost every fertility clinic is talking about CoQ10 and its magnificent benefits on egg quality and improving IVF treatment outcomes. The research, however, did not pop up overnight, it had been slowly accumulating for years. And those of us that had been watching closely for new research were already amazed with some of the results we were seeing in studies and in practise with patients.
Another hormone has slowly been gaining momentum for a similar impact on IVF success rates, and you may have heard of it already by now. Melatonin is a hormone produced from the pituitary gland in the brain. It has a very important role in regulating our circadian rhythm and supporting a regular sleep cycle. However, melatonin moonlights as a very powerful antioxidant as well. In fact, it has been shown to concentrate in the follicular fluid of the ovary, allowing it to neutralize reactive oxygen species (ROS), effectively reducing the oxidative stress that the follicles are exposed to.
How does a reduced level of oxidative stress in the ovary, near the follicles, translate in to improved IVF outcomes for patients? It seems to help support optimal DNA integrity by reducing the damage ROS exert of the DNA of the eggs. This improved DNA integrity in a recently published study was found to increase the number of mature follicles retrieved during the IVF process, increase fertilization rates, and increase the number of good quality embryos.
It is important to always discuss with your healthcare provider if any supplement or natural health product can be used based on your health history and drug protocol.
Khan, H. L., Bhatti, S., Abbas, S., Kaloglu, C., Zahra, S. Q., Khan, Y. L., Aydin, H. H. (2020). Melatonin levels and microRNA (miRNA) relative expression profile in the follicular ambient microenvironment in patients undergoing in vitro fertilization process. Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics.
This article is in no way a replacement for medical advice or medical care, it is advised that anyone concerned about their Health should speak with their Naturopathic Doctor. Please discuss with your healtcare provider and only make changes to your medications regimen if recommended by your doctor and under their guidance.