Guide to Fertility and Assisted Conception
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IVF involves an initial consultation, starting treatment and embryo transfer. This timeline will vary between individuals and not everyone’s IVF journey will look
the same. Before you go through IVF you will have various appointments with doctors which can include tests and investigations, the time these tests and investigations take will vary between individuals. IVF treatment involves suppressing natural hormone production, hormone treatment to boost egg quality, egg collection, mixing the eggs and sperm for fertilisation and finally, embryo transfer.
Generally one cycle of IVF will take between four and six weeks. It is important to discuss timelines with your GP or healthcare professional so you have a realistic timeframe.
Egg freezing is a method of preserving a women's eggs so she can have a baby in the future. It involves collecting a women's egg, freezing them and thawing
them at a later date for fertilisation.
There is no defined age you should freeze your eggs and it will depend between individuals and their situation. Egg freezing can be expensive so it is important to understand exactly what is involved.
The younger you freeze your eggs the more likely you will have a high number of eggs and they will be the highest quality. Most women will have 15 eggs
collected however, this is not always possible for those with lower ovarian reserves. It is still possible to freeze your eggs later in life however, you need to be prepared you may harvest less eggs.
Egg freezing is a method to help preserve a woman’s egg reserve so she can increase her chances of getting pregnant at a later date. Egg freezing may be considered by those who have a medical condition which can affect their fertility, for those worried about fertility declining but not ready to have a child right now, if you are starting hormone therapy or reconstructive surgery if you are transitioning from a male to female or if you have eggs from IVF treatment.
There is no evidence currently that IVF can cause menopause however, the hormones used during IVF can cause symptoms similar to those experienced in perimenopause and menopause.
Whilst you are able to breastfeed during IVF, you will generally increase your chances of pregnancy if you stop breastfeeding prior to IVF.
Guidelines for IVF suggest that the success rate is higher if your BMI is between 19 and 30. If your BMI is over 30 you may wish to focus on weight management before you start IVF to increase your chances. Remember that BMI is only one metric for fertility – fertility is whole body event so is important to look at diet, exercise, mindset and supplements to increase your chances.
During IVF treatment you will be on many different protocols and it can be mentally and emotionally exhausting. We generally advise avoiding high intensity exercise as you want to grow as many eggs as you can. High intensity exercise will divert energy away from the ovaries where they need the blood for
oxygen, nutrients and antioxidants to grow as many eggs as possible.
You can also feel sore during IVF so you may feel more comfortable doing light exercise and gentle movements.
There are a number of small changes that you can make to ensure you’re in the best position possible for IVF.
These include mindset, building your energy reserves through diet and nutritional supplements and lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, reducing alcohol consumption and managing stress.
During IVF, it is essential to pay attention to your nutrition and ensure that you are consuming a balanced diet rich in nutrients that support your reproductive health.
While there are no specific foods that you should avoid altogether during IVF, there are some dietary guidelines that you should follow to optimise your chances of success.
It's important to focus on adding nutrient-dense foods to your diet, rather than eliminating specific foods. Here are some dietary recommendations to support your IVF journey:
Eat a diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods: Focus on consuming a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. These foods provide essential nutrients, fibre, and antioxidants that support overall health and reproductive function.
We also recommend taking prenatal vitamins and supplements. We recommend both the Zita West Female Ultimate IVF Support Pack and Zita West Ultimate Male IVF Support Pack, which contain all the supplements we recommend for taking during IVF.
While there are no specific foods that guarantee implantation during IVF, certain nutrients and foods have been associated with improved fertility and reproductive health. Here are some foods that may help support implantation during IVF.
Protein-rich foods: Consuming adequate protein is essential for hormone production and the development of healthy follicles. Good sources of protein include lean meats, fish, eggs, beans, and lentils.
Healthy fats: Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish, nuts, and seeds have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the body and improve hormone production. Avocado, olive oil, and coconut oil are also excellent sources of healthy fats.
Whole grains: Whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and oats are high in fibre, vitamins, and minerals that support reproductive health. They can also help regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.
Colourful fruits and vegetables: Eating a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables provides essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support reproductive health. Dark leafy greens, berries, citrus fruits, and sweet potatoes are particularly nutrient-dense.
It's important to remember that there is no single "magic" food that can guarantee implantation during IVF. However, by eating a balanced and nutritious diet rich in these foods, you can help support your reproductive health and increase your chances of success during IVF.
Before and during IVF, it's important to take care of yourself both physically and mentally. We recommend avoiding:
• Alcohol and smoking
• Caffeine: Limit caffeine intake to 200mg per day or less
•Stress: High levels of stress can affect hormone. Some relaxation techniques include meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises.
•Over-exercising: While exercise is beneficial for overall health, over-exercising can affect hormone levels, add stress to the body and deplete essential nutrient reserves
We also recommend consider what you can do to set yourself up for success:
•Focus on a balanced and nutritious diet
•Practise self care. Getting enough sleep and managing your stress levels will ensure mind and body are in their best shape possible
•Supplements. Consider taking a supplement to ensure you are getting all the essential nutrients you need to support your fertility. We recommend Zita West Ultimate Female IVF Support Pack and Zita West Ultimate Male IVF Support Pack
Preparing your body for IVF success involves taking steps to optimize your overall health and well-being. Here are some things you can do to prepare your body for IVF success:
Avoid smoking, alcohol, and drugs: These substances can reduce fertility and negatively impact embryo development.
Take a supplement: Taking a supplement can help ensure you are getting all the essential nutrients required to support fertility. The Zita West Ultimate Female IVF Support Pack is a comprehensive supplement pack specifically designed for women undergoing IVF. It contains a range of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support optimal fertility.
Eat a balanced diet: Eating a balanced diet that is rich in nutrients, including protein, healthy fats, and fibre, can help support fertility.
Manage stress: High levels of stress can negatively impact fertility. Finding stress management techniques that work for you, such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises, can help reduce stress levels.
Get enough sleep: Getting enough sleep is important for overall health and well-being, including fertility. Aim for at least seven hours of sleep per night.
Remember to also prioritise self-care and activities that bring you joy, such as spending time with loved ones or doing hobbies you enjoy.
After IVF, it's important to focus on a healthy and balanced diet, rich in protein, fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, and healthy fats. It’s also important to stay hydrated.
It's also important to prioritise relaxation and rest after IVF. While it's natural to feel anxious during this time, it's important to try to manage stress levels and get adequate rest. Consider activities such as gentle yoga, meditation, or taking walks in nature. Remember to listen to your body and give yourself the rest and relaxation you need during this time.
In addition to focusing on a healthy diet and relaxation, be sure to follow any post-IVF instructions provided by your doctor or fertility clinic. These may include avoiding certain activities or medications, and taking prescribed supplements. Follow-up appointments with your doctor can also provide valuable information about the success of the IVF cycle and any necessary next steps.