Women’s egg quality dependent on metabolic factors

Increasing the levels of a chemical found in all human cells could boost a woman’s fertility and help select the best eggs for IVF, according to University of Queensland, Australia, research.

In an in-depth study of the final steps of egg maturation, the quality of a woman’s eggs was found to be significantly dependent on the important metabolic coenzyme called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+).

UQ Centre for Clinical Research scientist Professor Hayden Homer said NAD+ helps to ensure that eggs retain the bulk of their cellular building blocks as they mature. “NAD+ is a critical coenzyme found in every cell in your body, and it’s involved in hundreds of metabolic processes, but levels decline with age,” Homer said.

“Egg quality declines relatively early, from the age of 30 years onwards, making it increasingly difficult to get pregnant,” Homer added. “If we can maintain steady levels of NAD+ we may improve a woman’s chances of getting pregnant both naturally and through IVF. With technological advances, this work will bring us closer to being able to select the best eggs for IVF treatment and to improving egg quality.”

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