5 Things To Consider When Dealing with Secondary Infertility

One of the things I’m often asked about is secondary infertility. This is when a woman who’s previously had a baby is struggling to get pregnant again.

And it’s far from uncommon. Every day we see women who have fallen pregnant the first time without even thinking about it and quite often in a short space of time, and then they struggle the second time around and are naturally very shocked that conception is not happening.

Take a look at the five key areas that I look at when a woman’s struggling to conceive the second time around.

As always, here’s your cheat sheet summarising my best advice.

  1. Age:  Age is a really important factor. Many women that are getting pregnant later in life are very keen to try for a second baby quite quickly. Age and how long you’ve been trying are key to understanding your fertility status the second time around.
  2. Sex: You absolutely have to have more sex to get pregnant a second time, usually at least three times a week. Many women I see just aren’t having enough sex because they are exhausted and often trying to juggle looking after a toddler with work, and they just don’t have the energy for sex.
  3. Nutrition and diet: Many mums, especially if they’re working, aren’t getting the proper nutrition. They get home from work, they have a baby to bathe and put to bed, and they don’t nourish themselves enough. Looking at diet and nutrition is really important as this can impact egg quality.
  4. Supplements: I’m a huge believer in supplements. Alongside a healthy diet, multi-vitamins and minerals, like Omega 3 and Folate, provide key nutrients to your body in preparation for getting pregnant.  
  5. Exhaustion: If you’re a working mum, you are exhausted by the time the weekend comes, so catching up on your sleep and having a bit of time to yourself is vital.

Happily, many women who are struggling the second time round do go on and get pregnant naturally but for those of you that are older, it’s about working within a timeframe, and most importantly, setting yourself a limit to when you will seek help and more assistance.

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.

Connect with us

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.


9 Questions About |Fertility That Every Twenty-something Should Know The Answer To

Whether you want to start a family in your 20’s, 30’s or 40’s it is important to be knowledgeable about what is going on in your body as early as possible. Experts say the average woman’s fertility peaks in her early 20s but more and more women are choosing to have babies later in life. So here are 9 questions about fertility that I think every twenty somethings should know the answer to help them keep an eye on their fertility and spot any fertility issues as soon as possible…

1.  Should you care about your fertility, even if you don’t want to have a baby any time soon?

Yes every women should care about their fertility.  Whether they are trying for a baby now or in the future. Today many women wait to have their perfect career, partner etc. and it doesn’t always follow in the order that you expect it to. Quite often, women will come and see me at the age of 30 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 it can take a while to conceive and a miscarriage is really common when you first get pregnant, which means you have to pick yourself up and try again.


2. Does your fertility drop off a cliff when you hit 30?

No, it doesn’t. Don’t believe the hype. Everyone is different some women will have better fertility than others for their age


3. How long is a normal amount of time to try for a baby?

On average it can take 8-12 months to conceive, so often a lot of my time is spent managing the expectations of a woman on how long it might take, because many expect it to happen sooner.

4. Should you be worried if you miss a period?

There’s a myriad of reasons why you might miss a period, this can be anything from weight gain, to being underweight, a bad diet, new medication and even stress. If you’re having heavy or irregular cycles often and you feel you have any hormonal issues, it’s worth getting a check from your GP. Also so many women are now on the pill from 15-16 into there 30 and you can have cycle disturbances following coming off the pill.


5. Is it normal to bleed between periods? The menstrual cycle starts on the first day of a woman’s period, but this does not mean the first time you get slight blood spotting. The first day of the cycle is the first day of the fresh, red bleed. Any bleeding between periods should be checked by your GP.


6. Are apps like Natural Cycles 100% correct when it comes to monitoring your period?Apps can be helpful but too many women rely entirely on them. It’s more important to learn to read your body and understand its natural rhythms.


7. Does endometriosis affect your chances of having a baby? The link between endometriosis and fertility problems is not clearly understood and the cause is unknown. However, depending on the severity of your endometriosis, the chance of natural conception can decrease. It’s important to note that even with severe endometriosis, natural conception is still possible.


8. Should I be worried about polycystic ovaries? At the Zita West Clinic, up to 15 per cent of the women we see have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). The problem is that PCOS, particularly when is very severe, affects natural ovulation. PCOS can also affect how regular cycles are, meaning there may be fewer cycles in a year and it is harder for a woman to detect her fertile phase. Many women with PCOS worry they will never be able to conceive because of it but PCOS is a treatable condition, but many women with PCOS do get pregnant.


9. What is the biggest fertility mistake a lot of young women make? The biggest mistake a lot of women make is not using contraception and becoming vulnerable to chlamydia. This is a silent STI but one which can have implications for your fertility further down the lines. 

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

How To Have Acupuncture With The Zita West Clinic If You Don’t Live In London

One of the things that we’re really known for at the Zita West Clinic is acupuncture. We use acupuncture and treat thousands of women every year who are trying naturally and also going through IVF.

I’m often asked by my patients who don’t live in London, ‘How can I access Acupuncture at the Zita West clinic around the UK and Ireland.’

So this week in the Fertility Show, I want to tell you how…

I’ve been an acupuncturist for 25 years now, and so I’ve always been a huge believer in its benefits for fertility and IVF, because I see how it helps so many women that are going through a very stressful time.

We have a lot of women that say they would like acupuncture, but they can’t do it in London. And this is where our affiliated network of accredited acupuncturists comes into play. We have affiliates up and down the UK and in Ireland who we have trained, and we do annual trainings every year to keep them abreast with best practise.

All acupuncturist members of the network have received training in our unique holistic approach to achieving optimum reproductive health as well as the diagnostic processes and treatment protocols followed at our London clinic. Members also have access to the Clinic and other members of the network for consultation and general advice.

We get great feedback from women who have visited our affiliates. They get a greater sense of well being, they really feel supported through natural fertility and when they’re undergoing IVF, they have a better feel of well being.

Our national network of Zita West affiliated acupuncturists specialise in all aspects of male and female reproductive health.

To find your nearest Zita West accredited acupuncturist, click here.


5 Ways We Optimise Your Cycle For IVF Success

I’m asked every day how we optimise IVF cycles at the Zita West Clinic to ensure the best success rates.

So in this week’s The Fertility Show,  I’m discussing the 5 ways we optimise your cycle for IVF success.

And as usual, here is your cheat sheet summed up in 5 bite sized points!

  1. Preparation: Preparation on every level, mentally, physically, and emotionally is key to IVF success. At the Zita West clinic we look at your diet, nutrition, lifestyle, work/life balance, stresses, and emotional wellbeing.
  2. Optimising egg and sperm quality: We really believe that there’s a lot that you can do to improve the quality of your eggs and sperm. We think one major key to success to nurture the environment in which these embryos will will grow in order to help get mature, healthy eggs and sperm.
  3. Individualising your cycle: You can never compare like for like with any couple or woman that comes through the door. Each IVF plan needs to be tailor-made for you because everybody is unique and different. One person might have low egg reserve, another might be younger, somebody else might be older, there may be male factor issues going on, as well. The drugs that are used, the protocol that you’ll put on, the way you’re monitored, the egg collection transfer, the lab work, are all very key to IVF success.
  4. Micromanaging your cycle: Micromanaging is part of our individualised approach. It’s not a one-fits-all policy at our clinic. It’s really important to monitor each patient frequently, which we do. Through micromanaging your cycle, we’re able to find out how you’re progressing, what needs to be done. Do you need extra blood tests? Do you need extra scans? We’re able to see issues or problems before they arise and we can correct them along the way.
  5. Intensive care: Lastly we give all our patients intensive care. A lot of hand-holding goes into having IVF at Zita West Clinic. The nursing staff and the rest of the team are there for you throughout your cycle and you’ve got access to them by email or phone.  

All of these form part of what we call our ‘holistic care approach’. If we concentrate on the medical side of your cycle, your diet, nutrition, lifestyle, optimising egg and sperm quality and micromanaging your cycle, we really believe you will have a better chance of IVF success.

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


Can acupuncture help you fall pregnant?

There’s a lot of mystery and scepticism surrounding acupuncture as a type of treatment, and whether or not it can help you conceive.

Research suggests that acupuncture may help in various areas relating to assisted conception, including during the lead-up to a cycle and immediately before and after embryo transfer (though, as with most research related to complementary treatments, this can’t be considered proven).

We believe that it contributes to our high levels of IVF success, so this week on The Fertility Show, I’m sitting down with Valeria, one of the acupuncturists in the clinic who has been with us for seven years, to ask explain what patients can expect when they come to The Zita West Clinic for acupuncture.

Zita: What can patients expect when they come to see you?

Valeria: Well, first of all, we try to establish relationship, and try to get to know where they are at in the path, and journey. That’s very important, because not everybody has the same root, some people have never had any treatments, whereas others have been trying to conceive for many years and have had a variety of treatments. So it Is important to know what each patient has been through, what their expectations are, and then once we know this, try to establish which areas of well-bring we need to concentrate on.

Zita: What is unique about the acupuncture treatments we do here?

Valeria: Here at the Zita West Clinic, acupuncture is always carried out in conjunction with mainstream Western medicine to ensure the best possible level of reproductive health. Our team carries out over 3000 sessions of fertility-focused treatments each year and we consistently update our methods by consulting the latest research as part of fertility treatment.

Zita: What is the feedback you get from patients who come to see you?

Valeria: The feedback we get from patients is that they trust that acupuncture is a really important part of their treatment and they feel supported by the clinic in helping them access it. And we know, certainly with embryo transfer, the treatment before embryo transfer is really important to calm the uterus down. The least, sort of, movement spasm there is in the uterus, the easier the work for the doctor and patients really feel acupuncture helps in calming them down,

If you want to book an acupuncture appointment at our clinic, please call our reception team and although on the day availability cannot be guaranteed we will do everything possible to accommodate you.