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It Starts With The Egg - Book Review

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A human oocyte

a blog by Suzanne Rico, April 8, 2014

“Most of our lives, our eggs are in a state of suspended animation as immature cells but in the three to four months before ovulation, an egg must undergo a major transformation," writes author Rebecca Fett in her book It Starts With The Egg. "It grows dramatically in size and starts producing much more energy. The egg must then execute a precise process of separating and ejecting copies of chromosomes.”

On the first page, Fett, who has a degree in biochemistry and molecular bio-technology, gives reason for women to care for our eggs—eggs we will never actually see and a piece of ourselves most of us never think about until we bump up against infertility.

“If this process goes wrong, and it often does, the egg will have chromosomal abnormalities. These chromosomal abnormalities are the single most important cause of early miscarriages and failed IVF cycles as well as the reason it takes older women so much longer to conceive.”

After enduring several IVFs that ended in miscarriage, I believe the reason I was ultimately successful in having children is because I waited eight months before trying again, taking the time to heal my body--to rid it of stress, environmental toxins, and fertility drugs--and build it up with things like supplements, acupuncture, and herbs. This strategy, I was counseled by Dr. Randine Lewis, who earned her doctorate in Alternative Medicine, would greatly up my chances of getting the right egg—the one that could make it through the chaotic process of becoming a healthy child. Now, Fett’s book brings the idea that it does, indeed, all start with the egg, further to life, taking a comprehensive look at the latest scientific evidence linking egg quality to both miscarriage and an increased time in getting pregnant.

Impressively researched and down-to-earth, It Starts With The Egg takes a look at everything from environmental chemicals that could be affecting egg quality to how simple changes in nutrition can up your odds of conceiving a healthy child. Fett also investigates how some supplements on the market today have been proven to help prepare the body for and support it during pregnancy.

“Rebecca Fett did a stellar job of researching and summarizing the current understanding of the impact of egg quality on IVF pregnancy chances,” says Dr. Norbert Gleicher of The Center For Human Reproduction in New York. Fett cites CHR’s groundbreaking research into how the supplement DHEA can boost pregnancy rates and lower chances of miscarriage. “Her summary of the DHEA story that unfolded here at CHR is excellent," adds Gleicher. It Starts With The Egg makes the often contradictory, possibly confusing sea of information accessible and digestible to couples going through fertility issues.”

It Starts With The Egg is a resource that’s worth the time to read, giving easy-to-implement strategies for those who are taking the long road to parenthood. Armed with the knowledge in this book, it is my hope that women challenged by infertility will feel more powerful to help themselves. I truly wish it had been around ten years ago, when I was struggling to understand my own struggle.