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05 Sep 2007

IVF question
Hi Doc,
Please could you explain what it means if your eggs or embryos are "dark" in colour? Is this an indication of poor quality eggs or embryos?
What can you do to improve the egg quality?
Answer 388 views
Fertility expert
fertility expert

01 Jan 0001

Dear Anon

Embryos or eggs appearing ‘dark’ in colour may be an indication of an abnormality or irregularity of the egg/embryo.

Egg quality depends to a large extent upon various metabolic functions within the body and can be affected by the use of medication, drugs, smoking and environmental toxins etcetera.

In addition it may be related to disease conditions such as endometriosis which creates a local toxic effect within the ovary and any disease or condition that interferes with ovarian metabolism including thyroid abnormalities and abnormalities of prolactin production, as well as cortisone function. Furthermore lesser known factors such as stress and environmental factors including climatic conditions, altitude etc may be imputed through unknown pathways via the central nervous system and these may indirectly or directly alter the ovarian egg selection process i.e. recruitment of eggs. The actual recruitment of eggs is a 56-day process and not a 28-day process and hence any event or severe stress condition may result in the alteration of ovarian function, two or three cycles later. However in general, all other factors being equal, generally egg quality is a function of age. With advancing age there is a steady deterioration in egg quality and the better quality eggs are generally released at a younger age and require less ovarian stimulation. However where reversible factors can be altered favourably I would believe that there is a possibility of improving egg quality as well as embryo quality in the long run.
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