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How can I make my first IVF successful?

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7 fertility expert(s) answered this question

Answer from: Raúl Olivares, MD

Gynaecologist, Medical Director & Owner Barcelona IVF
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Honestly, I feel that there are not many things patients can do to improve the outcome of IVF. I know that there is a lot of things that you can read on Dr Google like if you improve your diet, take antioxidants, exercise, it will help. The thing is that since the most common problem is related to the quality of the embryos, the quality of the eggs, and things like that, this is something that unfortunately cannot be improved.

If you do certain kind of things, you may increase the risk of IVF if you do a lot of exercise or things like that, but in regard to improving the quality of the gametes and therefore improving the quality of the embryos that we are going to transfer, there is very little that you can do. However, we still recommend leading a healthy life and doing this kind of thing because if we succeed, the patients are going to be pregnant. It is also very important to start this pregnancy in the best conditions. It is best to lose weight, quit smoking, avoid alcohol, do exercise with moderate intensity, take antioxidants, vitamins, folic acid, and things like that. All these things are mostly done to start the pregnancy in the best conditions. Concerning other kinds of things, let’s say a more holistic approach with acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, and things like that – once more, there is no evidence that these kinds of treatments or procedures are going to increase the live birth. Remember, we don’t want eggs, we don’t want embryos, we just want babies, so it’s very important that anything that we do increases the live birth. If we have more eggs, but these eggs don’t become babies, it is not interesting for us.

Those kinds of other things, of course, are going to be very important because they’re going to help the patients to cope with the treatment. How they feel during the process is also important. In some cases, it has been suggested that, for example, acupuncture may increase the blood flow, and this may help to have a better endometrium in cases of cryotransfers or egg donations. Concerning the main issue that we have to face nowadays, which is the quality of the gametes, there is not very much that can be done. Basically, have a healthy life because this is going to reduce the risks once you’re pregnant.

Answer from: Tomas Frgala, PhD

Gynaecologist, Head Physician at UNICA Clinic - Brno
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That’s a very tricky question with many possible answers and honestly, there are some phases of the IVF procedure of In Vitro Fertilization where you just can’t really influence the process. Sometimes even the physicians can’t but of course, there are some recommendations that might be helpful. Number one and I know this is very tough to hear but don’t wait too long – the age of the woman is very important. The quality of the eggs actually depends on the age of the woman and their quality is best between 20 and 30, then good until 35 and acceptable until 40. After 40 it gets really complicated and there’s hardly anything that you can do to improve that situation. So age is still crucial. Of course positive thinking, support of your partner (eventually your family if you share the experience with them), support of your specialists, of your team and eventually vitamins and supplements (mostly folic acid or folates prior to the cycle). Further down the road, it needs to be individualized – this response based on the patient’s history and her condition.

Answer from: Santiago Eduardo Novoa, MD

Gynaecologist, specialised in Reproductive Medicine Instituto iGin
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IVF takes time so you don’t have to expect to start the treatment the next day after the consultation. The first thing is to be patient, the second thing is that all the tests that are going to be asked to be done, for example genetics, normally take a couple of weeks to get the results back. It will be some time between the consultation, the decision of what treatment you are going to follow and what time really the IVF treatment will start. In the meanwhile you have to continue with your normal life in a healthy fashion we can say. It’s always good to practice some kind of exercise or sport and of course you have to avoid toxics in that period like tobacco, alcohol, drugs and you can start with the vitamins principally folic acid in order to prevent all the issues related with the malformation of the spine of the baby. Those are things we think you should do between the consultation and the moment really the IVF cycle will start

Answer from: Harry Karpouzis, MD, MRCOG, DIUE

Gynaecologist, Founder & Scientific Director Pelargos IVF Medical Group
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The couple needs to be very well-prepared before going ahead with IVF. First, they need to make a good choice with the reproductive medicine specialist and the laboratory where they will have their IVF. It is equally important to have a good doctor with experience in the field and a good laboratory.

After they made up their minds and are ready to start IVF, it is very important to have some lifestyle modifications like cutting down on smoking and alcohol. This goes both to the male and female partner. Those two things can affect the quality, the quantity of the sperm and the egg in negative ways. Folic acid for women that are trying to get pregnant is very important, so this is something that every woman that tries to get pregnant needs to take. There are many multivitamins on the market apart from folic acid that is very important both for the sperm and the eggs like coenzyme q10, carnitine, zinc, vitamin D, it is very important to make sure that we have enough of it. There is plenty of data that shows that it is important for this to be replaced if it is reduced, so this is a point that also needs to be taken into consideration. Making sure that your hormones and your thyroid gland are under control before you undergo a process of IVF is again very important.

Stress is a negative factor, and it has been proven that it can affect the chances of successful IVF in many ways. Anything that can be stress relieving like acupuncture that works in many ways can be used so that you go into a process of IVF with as less stress as possible. It has been proven that a normal diet with lots of vegetables and fruits at the time of the IVF can also play an important role.

Answer from: Matthew Prior, PhD, MBBS

Gynaecologist, Reproductive Medical Consultant, Founder of The Big Fertility Project
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It’s really difficult this because when I see patients who are going into IVF the first time, they’re full of hope because they may have been on a very long journey up until that point trying for sometimes several years, going through tests, investigations, preparing for treatment, filling out consent forms, having scans the whole host of it and so people want to get into that positive mindset about making their first IVF successful and statistically, your first cycle is the one that’s most likely to work but still unfortunately, IVF isn’t the most successful of treatments and most people whatever age, with their first cycle of IVF, is more likely to not be successful than it is to have a baby. I think, one of the things that’s really important because we talk about lots of things: about preparing for pregnancy – like taking folic acid, getting your weight okay, checking that you don’t smoke, limit the amount alcohol that you drink, look at different lifestyle factors and while these are all important and can help with an IVF cycle (even doing all of those things), there’s still a good chance it’s not going to work and the last thing you want is after it’s not worked, is to go back and beat yourself up about the fact that you’ve not been able to stick to that kind of the IVF diet that google comes up or the book that you’ve bought and it’s really important to know that actually most of it is out of your control and while you can do everything to try and prepare to make the IVF cycle successful and it might not happen and that’s probably absolutely nothing that you’ve done wrong at all. It’s just that you’ve been having bad luck and that’s why it’s recommended that you may need more than one cycle.

Answer from: Delphine Dewandre, Embryologist

Embryologist, Senior Embryologist Beacon CARE Fertility
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I think it’s a bit hard for every woman coming into treatment. They’re always trying to do the best they can to have a good IVF treatment. To be real honest there’s not much you can do as your hormonal balance will be put on hold and will be controlled by external hormones so there’s not much you can do. The only thing I can say is that if you could  try to live healthy: eat healthy and do some sports, especially try to keep the stress levels low. I know it’s very hard especially with the frustrations of the IVF cycles but we do see that some stress levels can have an impact on egg quality especially during the COVID periods we saw this a lot happening. Whatever works for you to release the stress I think that could be a good idea to go with that before the IVF treatment.

Answer from: Solvita Funka, MD

Gynaecologist, Reproductologist & Obstetrician EGV Clinic
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To improve the implantation rate, we can choose the best approach for every individual couple, and we can choose the best options in the lab and adjust medication accordingly. Thanks to that, the implantation rate will be maximized as best as possible in your case.

About this question:

How to prepare to make the best outcome of my first IVF cycle?

IVF is one of the methods that is used by couples who have problems conceiving naturally. It is important to know how to make IVF successful in the first attempt and be well-prepared before starting the treatment. Can IVF be successful the first time? How many rounds of IVF is average? What can I do to increase my chances of conceiving through IVF?

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