Egg Quality vs. Egg Quantity - What's the Diff?

By Trellis Health

When it comes to fertility you might have heard about that ticking clock that we are supposedly all racing against. This stigma can be frustrating to deal with and unfortunately, it is something real to talk about. It has to do with the fact that as we age, our eggs do, too. The upside to this is that understanding what happens in our bodies can help us make better decisions for our future. To keep it simple, we’ll stick with the concept of egg quality vs quantity and the role each has on our fertility.

Let’s start with egg quality.

When we are born, we are born with all of our eggs — all of them — we don’t get any more than the ones we have. Our eggs have had to take a ride with us through all the “occasional” cigarettes we smoked on stoops during college, the evenings we pulled all-nighters to meet deadlines, and the copious amount of caffeine we pumped ourselves with to recover from it all. Additionally, there’s the stuff we can’t avoid like high stress, restless nights for weeks on end, and the time you had to stay home with a high fever. Our eggs and ovaries take a beating just like we do, and it impacts their quality — even just getting older takes its toll.

So what about egg quantity?

We start out with almost 2 million eggs so you might think “Well shoot, that explains octo-moms…” but it’s more complicated than that. Obviously, women aren’t popping out millions of babies in a lifetime.

When we ovulate, we only release one egg, but all of the other follicles (potential eggs) essentially get reabsorbed. The number that reabsorb averages at about 1,000 potential eggs each menstrual cycle and increases quickly with age. So, in short, you lose over 1,000 eggs each period and you’ve got about 300-400 periods in a lifetime (don’t reach for the calculator, it’s better not to look).

So with age, yes, your egg reserve does deplete.

Okay, so now what?

You’ve got the information and you can use it as you see fit. Obviously, at Trellis we recommend coming into get your fertility tested so that you can make decisions for your future. Freezing eggs earlier in adulthood has a lot of advantages over freezing later on, but we know that there are other factors that play into measuring a woman’s fertility and it’s all up to you on what timing feels right.

Still got questions? We’ve got answers. Visit Trellishealth.com to book an appointment today. 

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