In vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment is often a solution of last resort for many families struggling with infertility. It is the most effective type of assisted reproductive technology (ART) (you can also look into having someone carry your baby – here is the surrogate definition) and is a process that is very taxing, physically, emotionally, and financially. But the rewards from a successful treatment can never be undervalued. The chance to bring home a healthy bouncing baby is the aspiration of every parent that goes through the treatment.
The CDC reports that as many as 6% of women in the 15 to 44-year age range have difficulty conceiving after one year of trial. According to Penn Medicine, women younger than 35 years have a 21.3% chance of successfully delivering a full-term baby per ART cycle. The success rate declines as the woman gets older. Given the efforts that go into the IVF process, it makes sense to want to know what steps can be taken to improve the chances of successful treatment so that every opportunity is maximized.
Maintain A Healthy Diet and Weight
A person’s general state of health and weight will have some impact on their fertility and ability to successfully undergo IVF treatment. Your BMI should ideally be within the normal range for best results. Being overweight or underweight can make it tougher to conceive. Being overweight can also make it more difficult for your doctor to properly monitor your ovaries when seeking to stimulate egg production and during their retrieval.
Adhering to a healthy and nutritious diet can help improve in this area. It can also help in regulating blood sugars, which when high can disrupt hormones, slow down egg maturation, and adversely affect implantation efforts. Consult with a dietician for more detailed guidance on what you can do to reach your weight goals healthily and manage your sugars. Partaking in regular exercise is also advisable. Cardio programs will work best at supporting weight loss.
By the time you undergo the embryo transfer during IVF, it is however recommended to limit rigorous activity. This can lead to a poor outcome in implantation due to elevated cortisol levels. You can however still enjoy low-impact exercise like yoga that will help with muscle toning and reducing stress.
Take Suitable Supplements
The quality and quantity of eggs you produce will also impact your chances of successful IVF. Research has shown that many women that have problems conceiving often have a deficiency in certain micronutrients. Thankfully, some supplements have been found to help improve on this and should begin being taken months in advance of the actual IVF procedures. Talk to your doctor about what options may best apply to your case based on test results. Some of the most recommended supplements include:
- Vitamins C, D and E
About a third of infertility issues relate to men. The problems are often related to poor sperm quality, a low sperm count, and blockages within the male reproductive system. Just like with women, these issues can be related to general health and weight. The man also needs to put some effort into boosting health and maintaining healthy body weight. There are also fertility drugs that can be prescribed to help boost sperm count and quality.
The healthier sperm the man can produce, the better quality embryos and chances of successful IVF results. During the initial screenings for IVF treatment, the man’s sperm will be analyzed to determine if there are any issues of concern. If there is a problem, your fertility specialist should be able to advise you on how to improve sperm health.
As said, going through IVF treatment can be tough. There is so much expectation and investment that can lead to the couple becoming stressed. This is a serious concern as the emotional and mental health of the woman can affect the outcome. Take time to indulge in some self-care when you need to. Getting adequate sleep has also been found to improve the outcomes of IVF treatments. Aim for 7 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. This will help reduce stress, balance out hormones, and prepare your body for the physical challenge of making and bearing a baby.
Also, avoid keeping your thoughts and feelings bottled up. Talk to your partner, family, friends, or even a therapist. If you are worried about the financial strain, engage your insurer and look up what resources are available in your community. Also, consider traveling abroad where the cost may be cheaper. Do not however just go for the cheapest option. Ensure the standard of medical care is comparable to back home. You can undergo successful IVF in Thailand, giving you access to affordable quality treatment combined with the chance for a tropical vacation.
Quit Smoking and Alcohol
Smoking is bad for your health for multiple reasons. It can contribute to infertility in both men and women. The habit can affect sperm quality, sperm count, the ability to achieve an erection, egg production, and successful implantation. It can also damage the genetic material in embryos, leading to a higher risk of defects. Men and women that smoke have significantly lower chances of successfully undergoing IVF treatment.
Not to mention that women that smoke during pregnancy are also more likely to experience fetal growth restriction and underweight babies at birth. The babies are also at more risk of suffering from asthma and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) thereafter. Parents should therefore also avoid exposing their children to secondhand smoke.
Excessive drinking of alcohol can also make it harder to conceive for both men and women. Sex drive and quality of sperm can be negatively impacted. Women that drink too much during pregnancy also risk poor fetal development and causing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in their child.
This is just in the days leading up to your IVF treatment. Men are advised to avoid ejaculating for at least 4 days prior to sperm collection. Ejaculation causes sperm count to drop so avoiding sexual activity or masturbation may help get a better semen sample. Needless to say, finding the right treatment for premature ejactulation is undeniably a good start.”
Women are also advised to keep off rigorous sexual activity that may injure or aggravate the cervix. After embryo transfer, the woman should still abstain for at least 1 to 2 weeks and maintain pelvic rest. This is to allow enough time for implantation to take place. Once you have done a pregnancy test to confirm success, you can resume normal sexual activity.