5 Tips For Surviving The Festive Season When You’re Trying To Conceive

With the annual Christmas festivities just around the corner, this week on my blog I want to talk about coping with Christmas when you’re trying, but struggling to conceive.

Many couples dread this time of year and even dealing with family and friends can be tough particularly if they have children around. Here are my 5 top suggestions to gracefully survive this festive season when you’re having difficulties conceiving

1.Be prepared – In the coming weeks, you may have to deal with unwanted questions from family members, or have to cope with insensitive comments. To avoid an uncomfortable situation, rehearse a few lines you can say if someone enquires about this sensitive topic. Take control of the situation, be friendly and then change the subject.

2.Eat well – Although the Christmas and New Year period is the time of year to indulge, you must remember that nutrition plays such an important role when it comes to fertility. You should eat a whole range of foods such as green leafy vegetables, eggs, nuts, good fats, yoghurt and beta carotene rich foods such as tomatoes, carrots and red peppers. Of course it’s ok to indulge a little, but it’s really important to also consume nutritious, nutrient-dense food prior to getting pregnant, because you need to be creating healthy eggs and healthy sperm.

3. Reduce alcohol – The fact of the matter is that research shows us that on average, the more alcohol you drink, the longer it will take you to get pregnant. For women alcohol may contribute to irregular periods, irregular ovulation and luteal phase defects, reducing chances of conception and for men, alcohol can affect sperm morphology and motility, and cause free-radical damage to the DNA sperm carries. Although it’s hard this time of year, I recommend you cut out or at least cut down on alcohol to boost your chances to conceive.

4. Have more sex –  The truth is many couples do not have sex frequently enough, and when you’re trying to conceive, sex is obviously key. Although sex tends to become more stressful than enjoyable for many couples who are trying to conceive, it is absolutely essential that you are having sex at least three times weekly during your fertile period because sperm can live up to a week inside you so regular sex helps you ensure a constant flow of sperm for ovulation.

5. Make a plan – Begin to make an action plan around having a baby for the new year. This can help you take back control over things you feel you have no control over.  Is your body baby ready? Are you having enough sex? Do you need to make a step to discuss IVF options? I have seen how despair is easier to feel than hope but have also seen so often hope return once women and couples begin to take back control through planning.

For weekly tips, advice and wisdom on natural fertility and IVF, subscribe to our Fertility Show on YouTube.

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Consultations are available at our Clinic in London, or our visiting clinics in Dublin and Cork or via Video Conferencing from the comfort of your own home.

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Call us on 0207 224 0017 or email us at clinics@zitawest.com

The most important thing is understanding the delays to fertility and looking back with no regrets

One of the most common questions I get asked is: ‘How long I have got before it will be too late for me to ever have a child of my own.’

Different couples have different challenges when it comes to thinking about planning to have a baby, and questions like this one are difficult to answer, as fertility isn’t black and white: there are so many shades of grey.  

Having said this, planning as much of your fertility journey as you can is something I recommend highly. And as we end the year, I want to talk about the importance of having no regrets.

One of the most painful set of circumstances I see at the clinic is when women sit in front of me thinking of what they should have done differently. Normally – and I say this from having helped thousands of couples – they wish they had started trying sooner or had sought help sooner. I have lost count of the number of times I have heard couples say that to me.

In helping women with their fertility, I spend a lot of time trying make them aware of the possible delays in the process and the consequences of delay, and how they need to be strategic in their decisions. The reason? To ensure that they don’t feel this regret.

Quite often, women will come and see me at the age of 35 and say that they’re going to wait a year or two before they start trying. I always encourage them to start as soon as they can, because you can see at 35 how you can get to 37 or 38 before you’ve even had a baby.

So instead it’s about making a rational decision about how many children you want, but also understanding the delays and the pitfalls that can happen along the way. Although there are a lot of tests now that can help you gage your fertility, the hard thing about it is there are so many shades of grey and no guarantees.

Women are great at managing so many aspects of their lives, but often not when it comes to managing fertility.

Then they feel under huge pressure – after a couple of months of not conceiving, it’s easy become obsessed about measurements, timings and gadgets, especially around ovulation.  It can affect relationships badly: I see men on a daily basis with nothing wrong with them other than they can’t perform because they feel under pressure to do so.  

The good news is couples increasingly want to do all they can to help themselves. They want to feel proactive, even against a backdrop of having to manage uncertainty.

At the end of the day, I think it’s about looking ahead and thinking how many children you want and then factoring in all the delays in fertility and making a plan accordingly.

 

We’re the number 1 clinic in London

This week at the Zita West clinic, we are having a major celebration.

We are delighted to announce that following an external validation of our IVF success rates, we have the highest clinical pregnancy rates in London for IVF and ICSI cycles (per fresh embryo transferred, own eggs, under 35 years – July 2015 – June 2016).

We put this down to our unique holistic approach and we excel in three main areas: –
  • Firstly, our holistic approach to IVF.  When you use our programme (which can be used individually or as a package) you are making sure that you are preparing in every way  – nutritionally, emotionally, psychologically and integrating it with the best of medical science. Our clients like this approach as IVF is very medicalised and the fact that we take time to look at all the other aspects of their nutrition and lifestyle that can impact on their chances of success gives them confidence that they have ‘ticked all the boxes’
  • The second thing we excel in is helping and understanding why IVF fails. Our Medical Director, Dr George Ndukwe (world specialist in IVF failure and failed implantation) and his colleague Dr Simone Rofena consults with many women in this group and they specialize in creating individualised treatment plans.
  • Finally, the third thing we excel in is the exceptional nursing team who clients really value, not only for their medical attention but also for their kindness, support and hand holding they give and this is reflected in the lovely emails we regularly receive from our clients.

We asked our team what makes us different and they summed it up perfectly below!

 

Under The Microscope: How We Choose An Embryo For IVF

This week is the last episode of The Fertility Show in our ‘Under The Microscope’ series.

Over the last few weeks we’ve shown you a real life ICSI procedure, we’ve seen how embryos are developed and monitored using time lapse technology and we’ve told you about the 3 most important factors that we believe make IVF successful at The Zita West Clinic.

In this week’s The Fertility Show,  I’m once again in our lab at Care London where we do our procedures and embryology with Rob Smith as he talks us through how our embryologists choose the correct embryo to implant using time lapse technology.

Watch Rob talk me through how he and our other Embryologists choose an embryo for implantation…

We always want to give our patients the highest chance of pregnancy whenever they come to our clinic and we believe using timelapse technology, we can help give our patients the highest possible success. It is thanks to this technology that our embryologists including Rob are able to run an algorithm test, which will tell them which embryo has developed correctly and is in line with a perfect model of the one has the best chances of making a baby.

For weekly tips, advice and wisdom on natural fertility and IVF, subscribe to our Fertility Show on YouTube.

Book now

Consultations are available at our Clinic in London, or our visiting clinics in Dublin and Cork or via Video Conferencing from the comfort of your own home.

Connect with us

Call us on 0207 224 0017 or email us at clinics@zitawest.com

After 3 failed IVF cycles, my dream to have a second child is over

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been telling the stories of some of the women who have had IVF at the clinic and the ups and downs of their journey.

This week, we’re talking to Claudia, who had her first child through IVF at The Zita West Clinic at 41.

Claudia has gone through three more IVF cycles to try and give her daughter a sibling, but this time her journey has been unsuccessful and she is slowly coming to terms with the fact that she may only ever have one child.

Despite this Claudia is delighted to have Florence in her life but her one regret is that she wished she’d known what she does now about preparation for IVF.

She says: ‘We tried for eight months for first baby and had a failed IVF on the NHS, so then we went to the Zita West Clinic, which was like a breath of fresh air after the NHS experience. I wish I’d known when we first started our IVF journey that success is down to the whole package of acupuncture, nutrition and RI, I definitely think the RI made a massive difference.’

Her advice to other women is to just go for it: ‘Give it your best shot because it’s worth every single injection, every single scan, every single needle that you have to inject yourself, drugs, everything is absolutely worth it when you get your baby at the end of it.’

To hear more about Claudia’s story, watch the video below.

For weekly tips, advice and wisdom on natural fertility and IVF, subscribe to our Fertility Show on YouTube.

Book now

Consultations are available at our Clinic in London, or our visiting clinics in Dublin and Cork or via Video Conferencing from the comfort of your own home.

Connect with us

Call us on 0207 224 0017 or email us at clinics@zitawest.com

 

Under The Microscope: How We Create Embryos For IVF

This week I want to show you how an embryologist develops the best embryo ready for implantation – specifically using timelapse technology.

In the video below filmed at our lab at Care London where we do our procedures and embryology, Rob Smith talks us through how he monitors cells in a time-lapse incubator and how he uses timelapse cameras to check the development of embryos to see which will be the best to implant back into the mother.

It really is fascinating to watch, take a look below…

Rob says: Although timelapse technology is great at identifying good embryos, not every top quality blastocyst will make a baby. This is because there are so many other factors involved including: how well this patient is, how old they are, there could be chromosomal problems with this embryo, there could be problems with the implantation or there could be some unknown factors as to why it’s not going to work. We can only try our best to get these sort of quality embryos, put them back, and see if it will actually implant and form a pregnancy.’

For weekly tips, advice and wisdom on natural fertility and IVF, subscribe to our Fertility Show on YouTube.

Book now

Consultations are available at our Clinic in London, or our visiting clinics in Dublin and Cork or via Video Conferencing from the comfort of your own home.

Connect with us

Call us on 0207 224 0017 or email us at clinics@zitawest.com