Is it possible to improve egg quality in three months?

(61 Posts)
GlummyMummy Thu 14-Apr-16 13:47:15

I've just been for my review after a failed round of IVF (trying to conceive child number 2), and consultant reckons our problem might one of embryo quality. Partner's sample was good so possibly poor egg quality?. We had 7 eggs, 4 fertilised but only one day 5 blastocyst which was put back. I had a heavy bleed 5 days after ET however.

Doctor said that although the embryo which was put back was top quality, the rest were all below quality, so on average our quality isn't great.

Any ideas as to how I can try and rectify this naturally before our next go in three months time? I've been on CoQ10 since the start of the year, and now started Vitamin E and a pregnancy multivitamin. I have low AMH so this might be our last go, really keen to try whatever we can to help things along!

Blue2014 Thu 14-Apr-16 13:54:21

I think 3 months is the guidance so I would say yes. Buy "it starts with the egg" there is loads of advice on vitamins and lifestyle changes there that could really help. Good luck

NotSpartacus Thu 14-Apr-16 13:54:27

Have you spoken to your doc about DHEA and melatonin? The jury is out as to whether these things make a difference but it is worth a try. DHEA is supposed to be optimal if taken for 16 weeks but less may also help.

How much Co-Q10 are you on, and is it ubiquinol or ubiquinone? Ubiquinol is the better one - I took 300mg per day (some people recommend less).

Also try adding in a decent amount of vit C.

What is your DH on? He needs a multi vit, vit c, selenium and zinc.

BettyBi0 Thu 14-Apr-16 14:01:21

Definitely read 'it starts with the egg'.

I took an absolute shed load of Q10 in the lead up to my successful IVF. I was a bit worried about the high dose and it cost me nearly £200 a month or something crazy like that for the Pharma Nord one as I was taking 6 a day I think. The difference in my cycles was huge though.

GlummyMummy Fri 15-Apr-16 12:52:18

thanks for the advice everyone!

I asked my doctor about supplements and all she said was folic acid! Helpful.....not!! I am steering away from DHEA NotSpartacus, because I have suffered with bad skin in the past and had heard that it could cause this again, have you any experience of taking DHEA yourself?

The CoQ10 I am taking is with ubiquinol 100mg I think, is that enough? It's a Natures Best one.

GlummyMummy Fri 15-Apr-16 12:54:16

Meant to ask as well, does anyone have any experience of both long and short protocol IVF? I have been on both now, long worked for me and short didn't so I'm naturally leaning towards the long one again for next time! However, with low AMH and poor egg quality I'm not sure if this will be the best plan

NotSpartacus Fri 15-Apr-16 14:39:19

No, I didn't take DHEA. I have one (!) polycystic ovary which made the doc think it would be a bad idea.
You could try increasing the Q10. I've also taken alpha lipoic acid to try to help with quality. Couldn't tell you if it worked - I got BFN...

GlummyMummy Fri 15-Apr-16 21:54:40

Sorry to hear that NotSpartacus. It's hard going isn't it. I'm keen to try everything I can for the next attempt, so at least I can't look back and say "should've done that" though it is hard to know if anything makes a difference! When we had our first successful round of IVF I didn't take any special supplements!

Sweetheartyparty76 Sat 16-Apr-16 08:24:33

Im 39 with a fsh of 9.6 and amh of 9.3. With my first ivf attempt, I took no additional supplements except a prenatal. We had 2 eggs fertilised (but they were slow to show signs of life) which were both b and c grade. The b grade was put back but bfn.
My 2nd ivf attempt, I read 'it starts with the egg'. 3 months leading up to the 2nd attempt, I took ubiquinol 300mg and vitamin c. I was a bit scared about using dhea but I changed my mind 6 weeks leading up to ivf and started at 50mg. My 2nd attempt was significantly better, not in numbers but in quality. We had 3 embryos, 2 a grade and 1 c grade. The 2 best quality were put back and they both took. We lost one at 7 weeks but hopefully we still have one going strong. We have our 12 week scan next week.
I would definitely recommend reading 'it starts with the egg'. It gave me some much hope. I also had an endo scratch which I feel also had an impact.
Good luck x

BreakingBod Sat 16-Apr-16 13:09:08

GlummyMummy I'm in a very similar position as yourself - we had a failed IVF cycle 18 months ago (after 5 years of unexplained secondary infertility and 2 miscarriages). At that time we decided enough was enough, but as I'm now turning 40 at the end of this year I've suddenly decided maybe we should have one last go.

We only managed 2 day-5 blastocysts, after producing only about 4 or 5 eggs, which I was disappointed and surprised with, and will be asking about the long protocol if we decide to return to the clinic for another go (who am I kidding, I emailed them yesterday with an initial enquiry, although DH is a bit hesitant to get back into it all again).

Anyway, based on the recommendations from this thread I downloaded It Starts With The Egg last night and have found it very inspiring and helpful. I'm going to attempt to implement her recommendations as far as possible, especially the diet and supplement ones, as my diet is very refined-carb/sugar heavy at the moment. So thanks for starting this thread and for the book recommendation.

GlummyMummy Sat 16-Apr-16 13:26:00

Sweethearty - that's great that you're pregnant! All the best for your scan next week! That's great evidence for the supplements then. How did you find the DHEA? I am very reluctant too!

BreakingBod- I've just ordered the book too, only got three months but hopefully can improve things a bit in that short time. I agree about the diet thing, I've just been eating rubbish after being really healthy during the last ivf round (lived on brazil nuts!!) I take it you were on the short protocol then?

I've been on both protocols now but really unsure which is best for me....doctors are really leaving it up to me to decide! eeeek

BreakingBod Sat 16-Apr-16 14:55:37

Yes we did the short protocol, although we were never offered the long. I'm still in 2 minds about trying again really, but I feel that I'll regret it in anther couple of years if we don't. If it doesn't work this time I'll definitely be calling it a day.

I'm just trying to menu plan based on the diet recommendations and it's trickier than I thought - not sure I'll be able to stick to it 100% but any improvement is better than my current eating habits!

GlummyMummy Sat 16-Apr-16 20:23:01

It's a lot to go through isn't is Breaking Bod....both emotionally and financially. I was lucky in that I felt well during both my cycles but the financial burden is big!!

Anyone any ideas as to what supplements the man should be taking prior to IVF?

bananafish81 Sat 16-Apr-16 20:55:23

My Dr said DH should be on vitamin C, zinc and selenium. We didn't have male factor but consultant said anti oxidants helped prevent free radicals which would help the swimmers. The embryologist told DH his sample was 'awesome'!

It starts with the egg also recommends 200mg of CoQ10 for blokes too

bananafish81 Sat 16-Apr-16 20:58:14

3 months is all you need as the sperm and egg process is 3 months.

My egg quality improved dramatically after 3 months on all the supps

First round all my embryos conked out after day 3

Second round got 17 eggs, 12 fertilised, 7 made it to blast, of which one was transferred and 4 were frozen

V sadly I miscarried at 10w but the tissue testing results that came back this week showed our baby was chromosomally normal. Ie the embryo quality wasn't the cause of the miscarriage

So 3 months of following the advice in the book made a huge difference to my egg quality

bananafish81 Sat 16-Apr-16 21:00:50

Oh and short protocol for me all the way

For a low AMH-er like me absolutely no way we would risk long protocol and risk ending up over suppressed and getting a poor response

First two cycles were short and I did really well on them

Although we have 4 frosties we are going again with fresh cycles so we can do PGS and leave the frosties on the subs bench

We will be doing short protocol again. Potentially two banking cycles back to back to bank enough embryos for PGS. Both will be short

Fewer side effects too. No horrible down regging!!

bananafish81 Sat 16-Apr-16 21:07:01

I followed the book and took:
75mg DHEA (get your levels checked first)
300mg CoQ10 as ubiquinol
3mg melatonin
200mg resveratrol
10,000iu vitamin D
100mg vitamin C
1000iu vitamin E
Zita West Vitafem prenatal
Zita West DHA omega 3
200ug selenium
5mg folic acid (prescription for epilepsy)
Biocare bioacidophilus forte probiotic

bananafish81 Sat 16-Apr-16 21:07:46

*1000mg vitamin C. Not 100

GlummyMummy Sat 16-Apr-16 21:25:05

Hi Bananafish, thanks for the info on the supplements, really helpful. A few of these I know about already, not heard about the probiotic being useful. Do you happen to know about evening primrose oil? I've been on that for years but have heard mixed things about it with regard to ivf.

Do you know how much selenium would be required on the male side?

I'm intrigued about the protocols, first time round the long protocol worked for me with low AMH, whereas the short one didn't so I am naturally leaning towards the long one again. But the risk of being over-suppressed does concern me, do you happen to know is that a problem for low AMH-ers?

That's interesting about your tissue results too, great to be able to have that done. The docs think that our embryo wasn't normal, hence the early bleed, but don't think my clinic test them to be honest.

Sweetheartyparty76 Sat 16-Apr-16 21:33:41

I got my DHEA through Biovea. It took a couple of weeks to get delivered as it has to come through the US x

bananafish81 Sat 16-Apr-16 21:51:06

I only take the probiotic for digestive issues, as years of strong opioids have buggered my gut!

Don't know anything about evening primrose I'm afraid

I just bought DH selenium from Holland & Barratt, think it's 200ug

Absolutely no way would my consultant risk long protocol on me. Down regging puts the ovaries to sleep and the last thing you want is to risk being over suppressed and sleepy ovaries not bouncing back

I've never heard of any clinic putting a potential poor responder on long protocol unless they have endo and need prostap

In terms of your response, could it not be that you were younger when you did long protocol and now older this time? I'd be very surprised if a low AMH-er did worse on short vs long

Realistically IVF is more likely not to work than it is to work. At 30-35 only half our embryos are likely to be viable

A friend who is a very very high AMH-er with PCOS who is the same age as me (34) got 37 eggs, 20 blasts, had PGS testing and 10 blasts were normal and 10 were normal

It's simply the law of averages that as we get older our egg quality declines.

The protocol is designed to maximise quantity, quality is primarily determined by age - and the ovarian environment, which is where supplements come in

GlummyMummy Sat 16-Apr-16 21:56:35

Sweethearty- sorry I meant how did you find the dhea in terms of side effects, bad skin etc?

Bananafish- I think age is a very big factor in my case, everything just seemed to go a lot more smoothly last time! I know 35 is a significant age in terms of fertility too. I think I maybe need to ask again about protocols. Doc seemed to think long protocol with higher drugs might be better combination for me? Something to do with assymestrical follicles this time?!?

bananafish81 Sat 16-Apr-16 22:09:17

Ah yes I know what he means. The risk with short protocol is that because you're piggy backing on your body's natural FSH you can get some follies racing off at different rates and get uneven sizes

Down regging quiets the ovaries so they start off from an even base

We got around this with a short course of the pill, which is less suppressive than down regging, to quiet the ovaries so everything grew from a standing start

Another option is estrogen priming, as it prevent early recruitment of a dominant follicle in the preceding cycle, which is another risk of short protocol with low AMH-ers

You may well do well on long protocol

Can only say what my Dr did to try and get even follicle growth without risking over suppression from down regulation

bananafish81 Sat 16-Apr-16 22:12:50

Oh and I can see the big difference now I'm back on DHEA. Like last time, I metamorphosised into a teenage boy

Within two weeks of restarting it (didn't take it during my pregnancy obviously) I had mega greasy, stringy hair, skin like an oil slick, spots and definite need for extra strong deodorant.

Happened last time, side effects went away almost immediately after stopping it

If it's doing something to my hair and skin it's hopefully doing something to my ovaries too!! grin

GlummyMummy Sun 17-Apr-16 07:20:10

Asked my dr about estrogen priming but she hadn't even heard of it!!! Doesn't fill me with a lot of confidence in my clinic!!

Yes, I am very wary of dhea for that reason, teenage boy no thanks!!! My skin is bad at the best of times! Plus it's not available in the UK -you wonder why not?

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