In vitro fertilisation is one of the methods resorted to by couples who can’t conceive naturally. As the odds of conceiving through this procedure are just 15-20%, knowing how to make IVF successful in the first attempt can benefit your pocket and expedite your journey towards pregnancy.
Tips To Increase Your Chances of IVF Success
Here are some helpful IVF success tips:
1. Do Your Homework
Selecting a good IVF centre is key to improve your chances of a pregnancy. Clinics differ on the basis of their technicians’ skills, conditions in which the embryo grows, etc. Make a list of clinics that offer IVF and find out these details before settling upon one:
- Pregnancy ratio per embryo transfer
- Pregnancy rates for couples your age and your fertility problem
- Accreditation of the clinic and board-certification of the physicians
- Cost of the procedure
- How long the embryos can be stored
- How many successful pregnancies are twins or multiple births
2. Avoid Ejaculation to Augment Sperm Count
The male partner shouldn’t ejaculate for three to four days before the sperm donation. Refraining from sexual intercourse and masturbation will increase the sperm count and thus, the chances of a successful IVF. It’s also important to get the semen analyzed before the process as the sperm quality can change over time.
3. Try Acupuncture
Several studies have shown that acupuncture is beneficial for women undergoing IVF, especially on the day of transfer. It is thought that acupuncture improves blood flow to the uterus and ovaries which stimulates the release of neurotransmitters. It is also seen that women who have an acupuncture treatment on the day of embryo transfer have more chances of pregnancy than women who didn’t. Women who are interested in this procedure can add it to their IVF care since it has little downside overall.
4. Eat Plenty of Good Fats
A recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that eating foods rich in monounsaturated fats could help women trying to get pregnant through IVF methods. These “good fats” are already known to protect the heart, lower inflammation in the body and improve fertility. So eat plenty of foods rich in monounsaturated fats such as avocados, nuts and seeds, sunflower oil and olive oil. Along with improving fertility they are also much needed for the development of the foetus. In contrast, other research has shown that women on a diet rich in saturated fats found in butter and red meat produced fewer eggs that were healthy enough for use in fertility treatment. Therefore add these as part of your IVF success tips diet.
5. Meditation and De-stressing
Stress adversely affects the reproductive system and lessens the chances IVF success. It’s normal to worry about whether the fertility treatment is working or not; however, you need to find time every day to de-stress, too. Meditation that involves gentle breathing techniques can greatly reduce stress and allow your body to function to the optimum.
6. Avoid Low Glycemic Index Foods, Alcohol and Caffeine
The glycemic index (GI) is a ranking system to classify foods depending on how easily they are digested by the body. Lower the GI, the slower they are digested, thereby ensuring a gradual yet steady supply of energy. This is crucial for maintaining healthy blood glucose levels and reducing weight. Legumes, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, broccoli, sweet potato and mushrooms are some of the foods in this category. Processed foods and their associated oils and sugars have a high GI and are bad for the body. They elevate inflammation, affect hormone levels in the body and negatively affect the immune system.
Alcohol is a teratogen (substance or factor that induces malformations in the foetus) and severely detrimental to the development of the foetus, therefore it must be avoided at all costs. Also on the list of things to avoid is smoking. If you have an addiction toward it, talk to your doctor before going for IVF treatments. Caffeine is also found to adversely affect the developing foetus. No more than 200mg should be taken per day during pregnancy. Ideally, it is better to avoid it during and after your IVF treatment.
7. Have Sex After the Procedure
Although some experts advise against it, studies have found that having sexual intercourse after a procedure can improve the success of your IVF to some extent. The reasoning behind this tip is that the natural hormones and chemicals released during sex can help the chances of conception. You should get your fertility expert’s opinion before going ahead.
8. Talk To a Counsellor
Your mental health significantly affects your chances of conception. IVF can take a toll on your emotional well-being so be prepared for the roller-coaster ride. Talk to a counsellor about your hopes, and fears. Ensure that your spouse, close friends and family support you throughout the entire process.
9. Avoid Vigorous Exercise
While it is essential to work out and maintain good health, strenuous exercise can reduce fertility levels in women and decrease their rates of conception. Heavy exercise is also twice as likely to cause implantation failure and pregnancy loss. Therefore go easy around your IVF procedures and opt for low-intensity exercises such as walking, yoga or swimming.
10. Get Plenty of Sleep
Your sleep cycle should be normal for at least two weeks preceding the IVF appointment. Go to bed early and ensure that you get at least eight hours of sleep a day. Sleeping in total darkness helps to regulate the melatonin levels in the body improve your physical and emotional well-being. It also helps in the development of healthy follicles for your IVF.
11. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Your Body Mass Index (BMI) influences your chances of IVF success. Being obese (BMI>35) or underweight (BMI<19) can increase the difficulty of conception by 2 and 4 times respectively. Being overweight can also lead to complications with the procedure. If you fall on either ends of the weight spectrum, making changes to your diet and lifestyle and enrolling in a cardio weight loss program can help you become a mother quicker.
12. Quit Smoking
Smoking affects the quality of the egg and the sperm. It drastically brings down the chances of conception through IVF. With support from family and friends, it’s possible to quit smoking for good.
13. Take the Prescribed Supplements
You can talk to your doctor and ask him/her to prescribe useful supplements. Medication such as DHEA and CoQ10 can improve the quality of both the sperm and the egg. Vitamin D supplements are helpful, too.
Taking good care of your physical and emotional well being around your IVF treatments can boost your chances of a successful pregnancy.