Good Eggs and Bad Eggs
As a woman ages, her fertility declines. The eggs inside her ovaries become increasingly unable to develop into a baby, which leads to infertility.
To get pregnant, it is not as much the total number of eggs that matters, but also the proportion of eggs that are of high-enough quality. Eggs must respond to hormones that trigger ovulation, they need to successfully fertilize, and they must kick-start the cell divisions needed to form an embryo. As a woman ages the number of eggs produced and the quality of eggs produced both decline.
Is there anything a woman can do to maintain or boost the quality of her eggs? Unfortunately, at the moment the medical answer is no. Women whose egg quality is compromised sometimes consider using donor eggs during IVF. DHEA has been proven to help increase pregnancy chances for older women and/or women with decreased ovarian reserve. It has not, however, been proven that DHEA actually increases egg quality or if it is successful in that it helps with hormonal balance.
The cycle of an egg is around 150 days, of which there are about 70 days in which there is thought to be an ability to impact how the egg ultimately develops. During this time frame environmental factors, hormonal balance, blood flow, stress, nutrition and supplements are all thought to make a difference. Although medical science may not yet be behind this field of thought, I cannot even begin to count the number of anecdotal stories I have heard about people who were not able to get pregnant or had failed IVF attempts became pregnant or had successful IVF attempts after changing their diets, starting to exercise and/or having acupuncture.
I highly recommend reading "It Starts With the Egg" by Rebecca Fett for more information.