How to Preapre for Ivf to have the best Chances of Success

You suspected it for a long time. But it is still painful when the doctor confirms that you will need IVF to be able to have a child. Now that you know it is real you are likely to want to improve your chances as much as possible. You are considering how to prepare yourself for IVF.

Unfortunately there is no well kept secret on how to ensure that IVF will work. It is a complex medical procedure and the reasons why it works sometimes but not others are far from being understood. But there are things you can and should do to get yourself in the best physical and emotional state of mind for your treatment.

==Folic acid==

Taking folic acid supplements is important for pregnant women as it helps to reduce the risk for the unborn to develop birth defects such as spina bifida. It is widely recommended that these supplements – which are nowadays available in any supermarket – are taken at least 3 months prior to becoming pregnant or trying to conceive.

If you have been unsuccessfully trying for a baby for many months or even years it might be tempting to stop taking those supplements. You might feel it is pointless. But now that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and you are getting ready for IVF you should start again if you stopped taking folic acid.

== Nutrition ==

There are many books written about what you should and should not eat for ideal fertility. However, very few of them are endorsed by the medical profession. The best way to prepare your body for IVF treatment is to follow common sense:

–  Eat your 5-a-day in form of fruit or vegetable (ideally organic)

–  Stay clear of ready-meals with high sugar, salt, fat content or E-numbers

–  Try to could from scratch

–  Avoid microwaves as they often kill any valuable vitamins in your food

–  Reduce unhealthy snacks such as crisps and chocolate

–  Reduce your coffee intake to 2 cups a day (coffee is widely discussed in infertility circles with some saying it is harmful, other saying it is not – it’s not worth the risk though, is it?)

Or in summary: Just try to keep to a balanced and healthy nutrition.

==Keep fit==

Many women going through infertility treatment stop doing exercise and keeping fit as they worry to exhaust their body prior to IVF. Time also increasingly becomes an issue as doctor appointments need to fit into the normal day.

Once you start taking medication you might not feel fit enough to do exercise as well – hormone treatments often results in tiredness and physical exhaustion.

But if you feel able to you should continue some light exercise. Keeping fit is good for your body and can distract your worried mind. There is no reason that light exercise should have a negative impact on IVF treatment and the opposite is very much believed to be true. Your body is going to go through a lot during the weeks to come and it is best to keep it strong.

As a rule of thumb therefore: Avoid extreme sports and postpone running a marathon, but keep up your light gym exercise and continue using the stairs instead of the lift!

==Sauna / public swimming pools==

Pregnant women are usually advised to stay away from saunas and public swimming pools. The high heat of a sauna can be damaging for your child and some experts suggest they could be harmful to a woman’s egg cells or a man’s sperm.

Public swimming pools can carry germs and despite chloride in the water can be a breeding point for viruses and bacteria. And getting ready for IVF you should try to avoid any infections or illnesses as well as you can.

It might be therefore better to end your gym workout with a natural fruit smoothy rather than a visit to the wet area.

==Keep healthy==

It is easier said than done, but do try to stay clear of any illnesses that can weaken your body.

You can’t always avoid becoming ill and you wouldn’t be the first suffering from a severe cold during egg retrieval, however by eating healthily, making sure you get a lot of vitamin C and keeping your distance to sniffing colleagues or ill family members and friends you can make your life much easier.

If nothing else it keeps another worry of your mind, but it also leaves your body with more strength to deal with the treatment.

==Relax==

If – like many infertility patients including myself – you have been told by any man and his dog to ‘relax and it’ll happen’ you probably swear at me now. But hear me out.

I can’t promise that you will get pregnant if you relax. But I know too many women spending the months leading up to IVF in a state of panic and constant worry, turning themselves bit by bit into an emotional wreck.

It is a hard pill to swallow, but you can do very little to influence the outcome of your treatment. You are in the hands of your doctor, consultant, nurses, embryologists, fate and (if you believe) God.

So panicking will not get you anywhere and might even negatively affect your chances. If your body produces too many stress hormones – commonly known as adrenaline – it does not create the best fertile ground for your embryo to implant.

So try not to think of infertility 24 hours a day and don’t worry about the outcome. What will be, will be. You will fail in your attempt – I am speaking of experience – but you might be a little calmer than you’d be without a conscious effort

==Alternative medicine==

Many infertility patients seek help in alternative medicines such as hypnosis, acupuncture or herbal remedies. Some doctors endorse this, others are concerned that it can affect the woman’s cycle and create difficulties in setting the correct levels of medication.

If it helps you to relax and stay strong throughout the ordeal of infertility treatment and you can afford the additional expense there is no reason why you shouldn’t make use of these alternative methods prior to starting your treatment.

Once you’re treatment starts I would recommend to discuss it with your consultant first.

There is not much you can do to improve your chances of a successful IVF treatment. However, following above tips can help you to have a healthy and strong body and mind which in turn can be a positive contributor to your treatment. Whilst it does not guarantee success, it certainly does not harm and – if nothing else – gives you a little bit of the feeling of being in control, a feeling often lost when going through IVF.