How to improve ivf success

There have been a lot of advances in the field of IVF since it first became more widely available, and while the art and science have improved immensely, the thinking has also changed that IVF is not just a matter of eggs, sperm and embryos. It takes two factors for a successful pregnancy – healthy embryos and a healthy implantation – and adequate preparation of a couple ahead of treatment is vital in order to optimise the outcome.

Our integrated approach to IVF at the Zita West Assisted Fertility Clinic involves looking at every aspect of a couple’s lives, including preparation of the mind, body and spirit, stress levels and micronutrition, and diet is a huge element of that. It takes about three months for eggs and sperm to develop properly and ensuring that they develop under optimum conditions improves the quality of the eggs, the sperm and, subsequently, the embryos. Healthy eggs and sperm equate to healthy embryos.

One of the greatest obstacles to successful implantation of the embryos and the reason why IVF fails in some women is an inflammatory environ­ment, which can be caused by autoimmune and other pro-inflammatory conditions of the immune system. If there is inflammation in the body, it could damage embryos and prevent successful implantation. At the Zita West Fertility Clinic we do specialist blood tests to see if this is the case or not. If inflammation is detected, we don’t simply rely on medication to reduce this; the internal environment can also be optimised through appro­priate nutrition and improvement in lifestyle. It is also extremely important to reduce the effect of stress, which can impact the immune system, and we use other, holistic treatments – such as acupuncture and hypnotherapy – to help with that.