Oocyte quality is one of the most important of the factors that have an impact on fertility in women. Optimum oocyte quality generally gives rise to embryos with an increased ability to implant in the uterus.
The number of oocytes a woman has is important but this is not as important as their quality. The combination of both their quantity and their quality is known as ovarian reserve. This quantity and quality diminishes as a woman ages and there are also cases of young women with poor ovarian reserve caused by health issues or genetics. Scientific studies show that smoking; courses of radiotherapy and chemotherapy; and endometriosis have a negative impact on oocyte quality.
Oocyte quality is assessed in IVF (in vitro fertilisation) laboratories based on morphological criteria further to observation under the microscope. New diagnosis tools are being developed so that a more precise evaluation of oocyte quality can be obtained. One such example is molecular analysis that facilitates identification of oocyte quality. PGD (pre-implantation genetic diagnosis) is another.
At Instituto Bernabeu there is a Poor Responder Unit that focuses on improving IVF treatment results. It is a new alternative option to the egg donation programme, currently the most successful means of treatment.