IVF Preparation – is it Necessary? Yes!

IVF Preparation – is it Necessary? Yes! We all know that certain food and lifestyle choices can have a detrimental effect on egg health, uterine health, sperm health and overall fertility.   Indeed, research indicates that certain nutrient deficiencies such as iron and vitamin B12 and a deficiency in specific proteins and fats required for hormone production may very much compromise our ability to conceive¹*.   Being acutely aware of this, we at the Fertility Health Clinic are inclined to ask: if research is telling us these deficiencies compromise natural conception, can the same be said for conception via IVF? And if so, should IVF support through definite and targeted nutrition and lifestyle intervention programmes not be par for the course for all artificial reproductive techniques?   IVF effectively bypasses some of the nitty-gritty details of conception but fundamentally the egg and sperm still need to meet and fertilise, and the tiny embryo still needs to implant in mum which is, for now, a job that’s pretty much down to mum, the embryo, nature, and of course specific medications used as part of the IVF protocol. Thankfully the skill and knowledge of the wonderful embryologists also helps! These amazing scientists know the ideal spot where they would like to place the embryo for best chance implantation.   I remember only too well the precision of the wonderful Dr Mohammad who knew exactly where he wanted baby number 2 to be placed in me! And his quiet ‘whoop’ of joy when he hit that very spot with the thin catheter tube, not to mention his concentration as he gently pushed what would become my second wonderful daughter out into the big wide world of my uterus.   There may however have been one main difference existing between me and the other women in the clinic that day (although I’ll never know). That being that my body was IVF-ready, but theirs may not have been. Crammed full of specific chemical compounds found in certain foods, I ate and supplemented for each individual stage of my IVF journey – and so did daddy. Fundamentally, we were as IVF ready as I could get us.   Packing a nutritious fertility punch! One recent 2017 study² concluded that an increased intake of whole grain foods related to an increased probability of live birth among women who became pregnant via IVF. The researchers concluded that the correlated increase in live births may have been due to a marked increase in the thickness of the endometrium (uterine lining) on the day in which embryo transfer occurred and that a probable improvement in uterine receptivity (which is what we aim to achieve at the Fertility Health Clinic) may have been the driving force behind the higher rates of implantation.   Further research published in 2018³ questioned whether adherence to the omega-rich Mediterranean diet correlated with improved IVF outcomes. Results from this prospective cohort study, which included studying the outcomes of two-hundred-and-forty-four non-obese women highlighted that this style of diet may indeed increase positive IVF outcomes and the likelihood of successful pregnancies.   Interestingly, this research indicated that for women over the age of thirty-five a higher adherence regarding implementation of the Mediterranean diet resulted in a 2.7 times higher likelihood of achieving pregnancy. Fundamentally the Fertility Health Clinic believe that whatever your circumstances, you should prepare your body for IVF. After all, people prepare their bodies for a lot less, such as running a marathon or even going on holidays! Indeed, it’d difficult to imagine someone attempting a marathon and not preparing for it months in advance.   For some, taking that same approach to IVF might be key.   Wishing you everything you’re hoping for on your fertility journey. Liadh x

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