Answer from: Raúl Olivares, MD
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: Harry Karpouzis, MD, MRCOG, DIUE
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.
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?