Poor Egg Quality and Advanced Maternal Age
Starting a family in your late 30’s or early 40’s is very common these days. Whether your career became a top priority, a relationship disintegrated, or it just wasn’t in the cards earlier in your life, many women now find themselves at what is considered advanced maternal age (AMA). They are often diagnosed with poor egg quality, meaning that their eggs are not responding to reproductive hormones the way they should. When this occurs in women who are less than 35 it’s referred to as Premature Ovarian Failure (POF). If you’re wondering how to navigate, what can be a longer road than expected, don’t lose hope! We help women struggling with POF and AMA to enjoy healthy pregnancies every day.
Advanced maternal age refers to women who are 35 or older, although when you are in your 30s or even 40s, you’re still young. Basically, your reproductive system is advancing which may make it more difficult to become pregnant. There are higher instances of miscarriage, preterm labor, hypertension, and gestational diabetes as well.
Poor egg quality is a natural progression as women age and the quality of everyone’s eggs will eventually decline. What does this mean? Essentially, the older you get, the higher the risk of your eggs having a genetic abnormality which can lead to miscarriage or genetic disorders such as Down syndrome. Some markers of AMA or a decline in egg quality are a decrease in AMH or anti-mullerian hormone, which is produced by the ovaries, and/or an increase in FSH or follicle stimulating hormone produced by the pituitary gland in your brain.
Now for the good news. While age affects egg quality, it is just one factor when you want to become pregnant and deliver a healthy baby. Other factors that are directly related to fertility and your ability to conceive include diet, lifestyle, genetics and even emotional health.
In holistic medicine, the focus is on discovering the root cause of fertility issues in an effort to help the body do what it does naturally – heal itself. Everything that happens in the body related to health, fertility, emotional well-being and more are affected by what you eat, your stress level, activity level, genetics, your mental outlook, even exposure to toxins and other environmental factors. When you focus on a healthy lifestyle and doing things that support fertility such as reducing stress, it makes a big difference in the outcome.
Acupuncture is a component of holistic medicine that not only reduces stress but increases blood flow to the uterus and ovaries while balancing hormones in the body. Many women of advanced maternal age find that acupuncture, along with dietary and other healthy changes, can help them realize their dream of conceiving and delivering a healthy baby.
As we age, hormonal fluctuations and imbalances are more common; this makes eggs less responsive. By increasing nutrients and improving blood flow with acupuncture, it may be possible to improve the quality of eggs and the reproductive environment in general. Whether you are trying to conceive naturally or are preparing to undergo IVF or IUI at age 35 or beyond, don’t give up. It may take longer and require more effort but perseverance furthers and many women are having healthy babies at a later time in life.