Failure of an Egg to mature properly

What are the problems with eggs that can lead to infertility?
An egg and a sperm fuse together to produce an egg. The egg consists of a protein shell and fuses with the sperm; the fusion of the protein shell and the sperm is the start of the fertilization process. Following the fertilization the shell hardens and prevents other sperm cells from entering the now-fertilized zygote.

This is also important to ensure that the embryo does not get implanted prematurely in the fallopian tubes and reaches the intended destination in the walls of the uterus. As the zygote travels through the fallopian tube into the uterus, it develops into a blastocyst and the outer shell begins to expand, thin out and eventually deteriorate.

How are the problems in eggs diagnosed?
Diagnosis of problems associated with the eggs can be determined by a simple blood test and may also require ultrasonography. Ultrasonography uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of internal organs and other tissues. A device called a transducer converts electrical current into sound waves, which are sent into the body’s tissues. In most cases, the problems arise in women above 35, with a past ovarian surgery, and have had a poor response to fertility drugs.

How are the problems in eggs treated?
The treatment is based on the underlying cause of the condition and it may be specific to each woman. Doctors suggest different treatments for each woman based on her circumstances and age. And these will include treatment of problems associated with ovulation as well. In extreme cases using donor eggs remains the only viable solution.

What is the relationship between egg quality and fertility?
Good quality of eggs is one of the most important factors of conception and fertility for a woman. Especially, this becomes an even more important factor when the pregnancy is being attempted at a later stage of the reproductive life – say, beyond the age of 35 years. Getting pregnant after age 40 is a challenge for women that may have no other impediment to conception. As a woman’s ovary ages, she will have increasing numbers of aneuploid eggs containing too few or too many chromosomes, thereby making it difficult to conceive.

No Fertility Test for Eggs
The inability to produce healthy, viable eggs often results in lower pregnancy rates and higher rates of miscarriage in women over the age of 35. While there are tests available for the quality of the eggs, there is no way to determine the fertility of the eggs available. One of the first tests that are typically performed is a trans-vaginal ultrasound; this ultrasound allows the physician to evaluate the uterus and uterine cavity and ovaries, which help ascertain the quality of the eggs. However, the only way to know for sure if an egg is chromosomally normal is to attempt to fertilize it and check if fertilization is successful.

No Treatment to Improve Egg Quality
The egg quality is a binary state, wherein you can assess whether the eggs are healthy or unhealthy. The decline in egg quality is driven solely by age, with a few exceptions. Some of the exceptions include – lifestyle factors such as smoking, undergoing cancer treatment, illnesses such as endometriosis and others. There is very little one can do to improve the quality of the eggs, which are more or less inherent.

No Other Way but Preserve
Cryopreservation of eggs is the only factor that works to prevent declining egg quality. Egg freezing, or oocyte cryopreservation, is a process in which a woman’s eggs (oocytes) are extracted, frozen and stored as a method to preserve reproductive potential in women of reproductive age.

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