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Role Of Quality Eggs In IVF Treatment

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Shweta Goswami 90% (88 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Obstetrtics & Gynaecology, Certified IVF Specialist
IVF Specialist, Noida  •  22 years experience
Role Of Quality Eggs In IVF Treatment

The concept of egg quality of a woman is derived from the belief that the embryo implantation probability is powerfully related to the age and ovarian reserve of the woman. Thus, it is regarded that the quality of the egg is almost synonymous with the chances of embryo implantation. Its quality cannot be assessed merely by looking at the egg or measuring its ability to receive the fertilization by sperm or simply observing the initial embryo division.

There are a few important factors that contribute to the success or failure of the embryo implantation and some of them are:

  1. Diminished ovarian reserve: A woman with an increased FSH level on the third day of the menses is regarded as having diminished reserve of ovary. This implies that her ovary is not competent in sending feedback signals to the pituitary gland and the body responds by producing an increased amount of FSH for stimulating the ovary. For more than 10 years, it has been found that in over thousands of fertility treatment cycles, women with an increased FSH level have a lower egg quality.
  2. Advanced age of maternity: Even though the FSH level is normal, the age of the mother who provides the eggs plays an important role to determine the quality of the egg. Quite like women with increased FSH levels, eggs obtained from women aged more than 40 years can have some problems at a later stage of fertilization. Normal FSH levels are not considered a reassuring factor, owing to the lower implantation rate in females aged over 45 years.
  3. Diminished quality of egg: With an increase in age, the capacity of the mitochondria in producing energy slowly decreases. The egg is linked to the circulation before ovulation, and it is linked again after the embryo implantation. But during the one week time ranging from ovulation to implantation, the egg and the resulting embryo are contained in the zona pellucida and function on the basis of mitochondrial energy supply. The older age of the woman doesn’t cause any problem at the initial stage of ovulation. Its fertilization and embryonic development are also normal. But soon, it runs out of energy and stops dividing before reaching the stage of implantation.

Therefore, it is important to have the eggs tested to find out any sort of chromosomal abnormality. In case the mother is deficient of producing high-quality eggs, the best option is to have donor eggs.

Mitochondrial Concept:

Mitochondrial replacement (MRT, sometimes called mitochondrial donation) is a special form of in vitro fertilisation in which the future baby's mitochondrial DNA comes from a third party. This technique is used in cases when mothers carry genes for mitochondrial diseases. The two most common techniques in mitochondrial donation are pronuclear transfer and maternal spindle transfer.

Cells are the tiniest part of any organism including the human body, but has various parts within, which have specific functions. The mitochondria, for instance, are the batteries of the cells and produce energy for all functions, including cellular movement and adequate cellular function.

The egg, being a single cell, also is highly dependent on the mitochondria for its optimal function. For an egg to be healthy, it should have optimal energy, and that comes only when the mitochondria is functioning at its best. This determines the overall quality of the egg too. Poor eggs, it is well established, is one of the major cause of infertility, as it cannot implant itself and sustain the entire term of pregnancy.
Studies have confirmed that eggs have more mitochondria than normal cells, as their energy requirements are higher.

The ovaries have cells called precursor cells, which eventually can become eggs and get fertilized. Studies have shown that when mitochondria from these precursor cells are infused into the fertilized egg, the overall quality of the egg improves and therefore improves chances of fertilization.

Mitochondrial transfer is the new technique which is being developed and has resulted in a baby but involves third party IVF and hence is in a ethical debate. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a IVF Specialist.

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