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Each year almost 30,000 couples undergo IVF, with a 28% average chance of conceiving each treatment * (under 35s). We ask the experts how to improve your chances of IVF SuccessQuestion: I’m about to undergo IVF treatment and would like to know how best to prepare physically and mentally to increase our chances of success?
THE IVF SPECIALISTThe best advice is to find a clinic that specialises in IVF and ask questions, such as, is the team experienced? Sometimes the unexpected happens and good, on the spot decisions need to be made. Visit the clinic, talk to staff, feel comfortable.Get fit for treatment. If you smoke – STOP. The 4000 chemical toxins in cigarettes wont benefit eggs, sperm or embryos. And don’t even think about marijuana! Cut out alcohol or cut down, and that includes your man – it takes 70 days to make a sperm so development could be compromised. If you are overweight, starting treatment might be the incentive you need to shed the pounds – your body mass index should be below 31. Being overweight can affect your chances of success and can lead to complications in pregnancy.Eat a balanced, nourishing diet. The only recommended supplement is folic acid (400mcg daily). If you are taking any medication or supplements, let your fertility specialist know. We do not recommend Chinese herbal remedies. IVF can be stressful, so try to find something to help you relax - massage, aromatherapy and gentle exercise can all help relieve anxiety. Don’t underestimate the emotional impact of a treatment cycle; it will help to make use of specialist counselling or support networks and find someone you can talk to. The CARE bulletin board (carefertility.com) is a very important help network for thousands of patients. Dr Simon Fishel is an IVF Specialist, and Managing Director of CARE Fertility Group, the UK’s largest independent provider of fertility treatment
>>Fertility treatments explained>>How to cope with the emotions of fertility treatment
THE SUCCESSFUL IVF MUMThere was no way we could conceive naturally as my husband Carl had leukaemia when he was 25. Fortunately, he was advised to put some sperm into storage, but as it deteriorates with time, we decided to start IVF treatment soon after we got married – we asked for contributions towards it for our wedding present!
We didn’t expect the first attempt to work, and saw a counsellor beforehand, so we were quite prepared when it failed, but the second failed attempt was heartbreaking, as the eggs fertilised that time round and we were much more hopeful. It’s impossible to explain the feelings if you haven’t gone through it yourself, so it helps to find someone to talk to who understands. A guy I work with whose girlfriend was pregnant after nine years of IVF attempts was my rock, and support groups such as Infertility Network were great, too.
We didn’t receive much advice on pre-conception care – I was just told ‘Don’t do anything that would cause you to blame yourself afterwards if something goes wrong.’ So I was conscious of what I ate and drank, gave up alcohol and tried to stay stress-free. But as it happened, I conceived under the most stressful circumstances, with Carl in intensive care. Both of us cried with joy when I found I was pregnant after the third attempt and when we found out it was twins at the 12 week scan (after being told there was one heartbeat at the 7 week scan!), it seemed too good to be true. (Currently 23.6% of IVF births are twins or triplets)
IVF is an emotional rollercoaster. It brought me and Carl closer together, but I can see how it could put a strain on your relationship, especially if the hormones turn you into the bitch from hell. Each time, the chances are it won’t work, so it’s important to be prepared for that, but also to stay positive. When I held Ellie this morning, I had butterflies as I just felt so excited to be her mum. You’ll never regret the heartache of failed attempts when you’ve got your baby. Gemma Richardson, 25, got pregnant with twins Ellie-May and Holly, now 8 weeks old, on her third attempt at IVF.
THE COMPLEMENTARY THERAPISTFirstly, ensure that your diet is balanced and you are eating fresh foods, organic and wherever possible in season. Cut out caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes as these leach the essential vitamins necessary to produce strong, healthy eggs. Take a good multi-vitamin, which contains all the nutrients needed, such as Nourish Conception Conditioning Nutritional Complex for women, and drink at least two litres of water daily.
Integrating complementary therapies is also beneficial to reduce stress levels, increase energy and balance your immune and hormonal system. I would suggest Reflexology/Aromatherapy massage and/or Acupuncture. There are specific acupuncture protocols that are used in preparation for and throughout your IVF cycle. Studies show that receiving Acupuncture one hour prior to egg transfer and one hour after can increase your chances by 16%. However, many acupuncturists feel that same day treatments are also effective.
Remember you and your partner are in this together, so if he can also follow some of these suggestions, not only will he be producing better sperm, but you will be united in your journey together.Emma Davis is co-founder of Oeuf Therapy Rooms & Clinic (oeuf.org.uk), which offers complementary therapies for women’s reproductive health issues.
>>IVF hope for older women>>Acupuncture provides fertility treatment boost
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RE: How to improve your chances of IVF success
Thanks for this article, it is absoluetly true! I could not conceive for 4 years and finally me and my busband went to this clinic www.reprogenesis.co.uk. We asked many questions and were given direct answers. It helped me a lot to be relaxed and not to get stressed during IVF. Seriously, the state of mind is the essential thing when TTC..Good luck to everybody!
27 February 2013 15:50
RE: How to improve your chances of IVF success?
Sometimes all you need to relax are some cannabis seeds uk. I don't know if you feel ok with this approach, but sometimes it might help your relationship. Hope you don't mind my suggestion.
14 November 2011 11:46
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