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Does poor egg quality cause genetic diseases of the baby?

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2 fertility expert(s) answered this question

Answer from: Lucy Lines

Embryologist, Business Owner at Two Lines Fertility
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No. When I talk about egg quality, again, I’m talking about egg resilience – how resilient the egg is and I think when IVF clinics are talking about egg quality sometimes they get confused between the beat you’re born with, the genetics of the egg and the resilience of the egg. When we’re talking about diet and lifestyle and supplements and all of that stuff, it’s all about the resilience of the egg. You can’t change the genetic component of the egg. All of those things we read about the mediterranean diet, the coq10 – all of those things are all pertaining to the resilience of the egg, not the genetic composition of the egg. The genetic composition of the egg is predetermined. You can’t change it – it just is what it is – either carrot or celery. You can’t change it from being a carrot or celery – it just is what it is.

Answer from: Sokratis V. Grigoriadis, B.Sc, M.Sc

Embryologist, Reproductive Biologist-Clinical Embryologist, Postgraduate Researcher at Assisted Reproduction Unit of Aretaieio University Hospital
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This is a very interesting topic. It is generally believed that poor oocyte quality could lead to embryo aneuploidy and infants with genetic diseases. However, there are different levels of accuracy when contemplating this comment. In fact, aneuploidy constitutes one of the most significant abnormalities observed in poor quality oocytes. We can say that aneuploidy is one piece of the puzzle. In order to make it crystal clear, it is widely accepted that as maternal age increases oocyte quality is progressively compromised. This reduction regarding both oocyte quality and ovarian reserve starts approximately after 30 years of age, becomes more intense after 35 and peaks after 40. It is a natural process where the cellular and the molecular mechanisms regulating proper oocyte functionality are compromised on several levels. Thus, errors are observed mainly with regards to the mechanisms regulating chromosome segregation during the meiotic divisions. Meiosis is a special category of cell division, which takes place during gamete production in both females and males. Errors in meiosis affect the number of chromosomes of gametes and in subsequently resulting embryos, finally leading to embryo aneuploidy. Thus, women of advanced age have an increased risk of embryo aneuploidy and genetic diseases.

About this question:

Does poor egg quality cause birth defects?

Poor egg quality is more likely after fertilization and development to blastocyst stage, receiving the status “aneuploid”. That means that there are chromosomal abnormalities that might lead to lack of implantation, miscarriage or genetic abnormalities in child.

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