If you want to have kids someday, but definitely not anytime soon, egg freezing might be on your radar. That would make you one of a growing number of women exploring this kind of fertility insurance policy. There are all sorts of think pieces and articles and personal accounts outlining the ins and outs and pros and cons and “must knows” about egg freezing, but here at Beli, we have some specific advice. If you’re thinking about egg freezing, bump up egg quality first. Here’s how.
- Egg freezing is a costly procedure, and a little preparation beforehand can help ensure they’re at their healthiest.
- Taking steps to live a healthy lifestyle can help improve egg quality.
- In addition to curbing bad habits and committing to healthy eating, a good supplement with key nutrients can help support and nourish egg quality.
First, the facts. Egg freezing, i.e. oocyte preservation, is a pretty serious undertaking. It’s eye-poppingly expensive – somewhere between $10,000 to $20,000 per cycle, a price tag that notably doesn’t cover the cost of storage. All in, the average egg freezing patient will spend between $30,000 and $40,000 depending on where she lives. But for many women, it’s money they’re spending to preserve their fertility. Removing eggs during peak fertility years will pay off down the road with a healthy baby, or so the thinking goes. Having eggs on ice frees women up to focus on their careers or other ambitions now, before they have a serious partner or are ready to hop on the baby train.
Whatever the motivation, anyone seriously considering or actively planning to have their eggs frozen will only benefit from a little prep work. If the idea is preserving eggs at their best, a few months of good behavior paired with the right nutrients before making that appointment can be surprisingly beneficial. We rounded up six specific things that can bump up that egg quality.
Nix the bad habits
You already know that women are born with all the eggs they’ll ever have, and yes, quality and quantity degrade and reduce with age. But a nicotine habit accelerates egg loss in the ovaries and hastens premature aging. Toxins in cigarettes are also damaging to the ovarian follicles, which is where eggs develop to maturity. The good news? Fertility rates for serious smokers bounce back significantly after a year of going cigarette free.
When it comes to alcohol, a conservative approach is best. There’s plenty of evidence that shows booze has a detrimental effect on female fertility, but not much research looking at alcohol consumption and how it might impact egg freezing. Still, keep it moderate (and your eyes on the prize – healthy eggs!).
Up your nutrition game
While it’s true that eggs degrade with time, recent studies are very clear that optimal nutrition can directly improve egg quality. But eating for fertility isn’t as simple as eating “clean.” Research is specific that protein-rich, low-carb diets, paired with full-fat dairy products are best. Keep trans fat and simple sugars (i.e. processed carbohydrates) to a minimum. Prioritize animal proteins and opt for grass-fed meats and free-range eggs, along wild-caught fish. Build your meals with high-quality fats, vegetables, and fruits naturally lower in sugar, like berries. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water!
Hedge your nutritional bets with a high-quality prenatal vitamin to shore up any gaps – yes, even though the plan isn’t a baby today (or even this year). Specific nutrients, including vitamins B6, B12, E, K2, and folate, nourish egg health by regulating hormone balance and helping shield against oxidative stress. Magnesium, iron, and vitamin D are also helpful for female fertility, and collagen may play a role too, at least anecdotally. A good prenatal vitamin, like Beli for Women, is an easy way to net all of the benefits of high-quality nutrients. Because let’s be real – no one’s diet is perfect.
Manage stress (seriously)
Stress is pretty synonymous for many of us these days, but do what you can to manage it. The very last thing you need before egg freezing is excessive amounts of stress hormones like cortisol and prolactin racing around your body. These hormones hinder egg production by messing with ovulation, so prioritize stress-reducing activities like yoga, meditation, and massage therapy. Your heart will thank you too.
Exercise, but in moderation
If you’re a daily HIIT or spin or run kind of girl, dial it back a bit. The recommendation is under five hours a week and you’ll want to curb those workouts that push your heart rate to the max. Over-exercising can actually disrupt hormone function in certain people, so play it safe and pull back a bit on the intensity.
Make a conscious effort to minimize toxins
Endocrine disruptors are literally everywhere these days – they’re in your makeup, food, detergent, receipts, sunscreen, pesticides, water bottle. Unfortunately, they’re also detrimental to egg quality. But you can’t live in a bubble, so try to limit toxin exposure as sanely as possible. If you’re lugging around a plastic water bottle, switch to metal or glass. Skip plastic wrap and baggies for reusable containers. Opt for toxin-free nail polish whenever possible, or go for the natural manicured look. Swap the synthetic fragranced candle for one made with essential oils. You get the idea.
If you’re serious about egg freezing, spending three to six months to really nourish and support your body can help ensure you’re harvesting the healthiest eggs. It’s the same advice we give to couples hoping to become parents. That preconception window is an ideal time to support your fertility, and the same is true if you’re planning on egg freezing. Lifestyle habits play a huge role in reproductive health, and they’re entirely modifiable. All of the things that help support your overall health and well-being will also affect your fertility. And if you’re going to shell out the big bucks to freeze your eggs, taking some time to do it properly is the best approach.