Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What makes for good eggs??

Here is a question that my brain has circled, poked and prodded, with little resolution, for a while.One RE's blog pointed out what seemed like basic common sense- your menstrual cycle is the best indicator of the quality of eggs you are producing in it. The more estrogen you make (indicator: egg-white cervical mucus or EWCM production) and the more progesterone you make (indicator: length of luteal phase), the better quality eggs you are likely to have. While this can obviously applied to natural (or medicated) normal cycles, it can also be extrapolated to IVF cycles, atleast the pre-ovulatory phase. If your estrogen goes up and you are making scads of EWCM, its a good sign.

Unless something changes in my physiology, my cycles never change, and are predictable to the hour, down to the time of the day that my surge begins. Its bloody spooky. This reliability makes for detecting any changes very easy.

When I was Vitamin D deficient, I had two patterns.

In the first, I ovulated at day 16- In these cycles, my surge would always start around noon on day 15. My OPT would be negative at 9 am, and be positive after 1 pm. I don't know if this regularity sounds remarkable to others, but it was to me.  In these cycles, I also seemed to have less EWCM, and my luteal phase was a short 11 day one.  This was the cycle pattern in which both my pregnancies were conceived.  Putting 2 and 2 together (in an unscientific, hand-wavy manner) I think my cycle pattern indicated that these may not have been the best quality eggs. And I lost both pregnancies.

The second pattern, was a day 20 ovulation, with more EWCM and a 13-14 day luteal phase.

After I began Vitamin D, mad coincidence or not, everything changed. 
  • For the first 6 months, Day 16 ovulation disappeared, almost all ovulations were at day 20 or 22, with good quality EWCM in almost all of them.
  • My luteal phase increased in length, with the minimum being 14 days, and the maximum being 16.
  • My antral follicle count reduced in half, going from 30 to around 16, which was a welcome (and somewhat anticipated) change.
  • 3 months ago, things shifted again- I now had a brand new day of ovulation, day 18.  The unwelcome part was, my EWCM almost disappeared completely. I felt like I had progesterone effects even in the pre-ovulatory phase, because my CM was very thick. This makes no sense, I know, but I still don't know what to make of it.
  • My luteal phase continued to be long, averaging 14-15 days.

One of my fellow bloggers, ThePortofIndecision had commented that after taking coenzyme Q10, she had good quality EWCM for the first time in years and she has what looks like a perfect, viable pregnancy finally (YAY!!) after multiple losses.  Based on that and what a few other people had said, and in a mad quest to find my lost EWCM (ha), I started taking Coenzyme Q10.  I'd taken this once  for a single cycle 2 years ago, but had stopped it after I found that it delayed day of ovulation by 2 days.

My first cycle back on CoQ10, I expected to O on day 18. Instead, just like the last time I'd taken it, my ovulation day got pushed back 2 more days (!!!!) and thank god, I got a good amount of EWCM.  So I'm sticking with it for the next cycle, and I'll be very interested to see if the changes repeat again. I'm praying the EWCM will stick around.

It is striking that both CoQ10 and Vitamin D have produced such changes in my cycle. I don't know what these changes mean (they look good, for the most part) but nobody can say what really indicates good eggs, though you can speculate away. So while I don't what to make of any of this, I figured faithfully cataloging all of this here cannot hurt. While we cannot take anecdotal findings seriously, we cannot dismiss it out of hand either.


  1. Innnnteresting.  Does it make you feel more in control of things when you know so much more than the average bear?  Or does it make it feel like that much more of a crap shoot because you realize all the factors you can change?  Have you ever looked into the issue of thin endometrial lining?  Just curious becuase its one of those that the docs always say is stubborn and often difficult to overcome.  My friend A from Our Fertility Journey (ourfertilityjourney.blogspot.com) is completely plagued with it and its sooo frustrating. 

  2. How very interesting!  I'm most impressed that your cycle is SO easily affected by these small factors.  I can take supplements and herbs up the wazoo with no changes whatsoever.  I have no idea what any of these things mean, but it's all very interesting the changes you seem to have noticed from them.  Just wanted to throw this out for you too, Evening Primrose Oil is good for increasing EWCM but you have to stop taking it as soon as you O.
    Good luck!

  3. Just dropping by :)
    I never made the connection between EWCM and oestrogen levels, but even in my natural cycles always ran on the high side of both. Interesting how my "REs" always told me I probably had crappy eggs...until they observed that in fact I just had crappy sperm.
    I hope your cycle stays nice and stable now until your next attempt hon xx

  4. Lol. The more you really know, the more you realize how much you don't know and how little control you have.  The way I look at this, i think my odds may be slightly or moderately improved by the stuff I've uncovered, but it still remains a gamble. Que sera sera, that is all you can say.

    Abut your friend, a quick google search shows that these are some of the common causes of a thin endometrium, such as infection, scarring from D&Cs, low estrogen levels, poor uterine blood supply or endometrial antibodies.

    The only stuff I can think of- check her Vitamin D status because it can potentially change some of these parameters (infection, estrogen levels and autoantibodies), and acupuncture, which is supposed to have some success at improving blood flow to the endometrium.

  5. I also found that Royal Jelly with Bee Pollen also has great effects on your cycle, especially with EWCM and it helps with egg production and egg quality.

    Also I was always told my eggs are crap and my cycle, EWCM, ovulation etc is always dead on. So who knows!

  6. Very interesting. I'm glad to have found your blog post. My new RE has suggested I start taking C0Q10 and DHEA right away due to research happening now that is very promising...I'm going to start them on Saturday. Our IVF cycle won't be until May, so I'm interested (like a science project I guess) to see how it affects everything... glad I found your blog! :-)

  7. Your research is amazing.