Boosting IVF Success - The Facts and the Falsehoods

When it comes to trying for a baby via in vitro fertilisation, whether those undergoing the procedure are a lesbian couple, a single woman, or a couple with fertility problems, it's natural to want to do everything possible to successfully become pregnant. Although doing some research yourself is always beneficial, certain sources of information on the internet that give tips on how to boost IVF success may be untrustworthy and provide false or even unsafe advice. Discover what to believe and what to disregard, in order to increase your chances of successfully starting a family.

microscope for in vitro fertilization process close up


There is nothing we can do to improve the success of an IVF cycle

Wrong, a thorough evaluation of the couple (or the single woman), as well as a healthy lifestyle, can improve odds of success.Although there is no assurance that you will fall pregnant via this treatment, the success of an IVF cycle is related to the couple or the single woman’s fertility problems and lifestyle. A thorough and complete examination of the couple by a doctor in a good fertility clinic is required to identify any conditions that could prevent conception.

The couple might undergo several screening checks to acknowledge any potential issues that could lead to infertility, such as sperm analysis to ensure quality, count and motility, or tests to see if the potential mother has enough eggs. Depending on their situation, they may consider the use of donor sperm.Additionally, it is imperative that the woman undergoing IVF maintain healthy habits. Recreational drugs, alcohol, medications, a poor diet, herbs and certain supplements can all prevent a successful pregnancy. The male partner’s lifestyle also affects the quality of his sperm. Additional factors that can influence IVF success rate include extremes of body weight and insufficient sleep (it’s recommended that the potential mother gets between 7-9 hours rest per night.).

IVF won’t work if you are a woman over 40

Wrong. Although it’s true that the odds of conceiving via IVF decrease with age (due to a reduction in the quantity and quality of eggs), a woman over 40 can still become pregnant. In fact, many 40+ women do get pregnant, whether they are using fertility treatments or not.It is also correct that the success rate is rather low and drops drastically between the ages of 30 and 40. In the UK, 13.6% of women between the ages of 40-42 successfully have a child via IVF, according to the NHS. Even though this percentage may seem low, it is important to note that some women still successfully become pregnant. In certain cases, egg donation might be recommended.

You should remain in bed after embryo transfer

Wrong, you don’t need to stay in bed once the embryo transfer is complete.On the contrary, women who rest in bed for 24 hours after the embryo transfer experience lower chances of successfully becoming pregnant in comparison to those who go back to a normal routine, according to a study. Moreover, even a shorter bed break could potentially have a bad influence on IVF success rate, as the associated inactivity causes changes in heart rate and fluctuations in blood flow.

IVF does not work because you did not do enough

Wrong. Even if you do everything you can to improve your chances of having a baby, for instance, maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle and undergoing all the required screening tests, IVF sometimes just does not work. Success rates vary according to the woman’s age and health, fertility issues, the fertility clinic and to other factors that science can’t yet explain. Don’t blame yourself, as there is nothing else that you could have done.

Herbal remedies can help with IVF

Wrong. Although you might read that herbs can boost conception on several websites, there is actually no scientific evidence to demonstrate that these remedies are effective. Additionally, there is no evidence affirming the safety of taking herbs whilst trying to conceive and experts are currently unsure at what level herbal remedies might interfere with medical drugs. If you are still thinking of using them, consult your doctor first, in order to to avoid any potential risks.

Special diets can boost your chances of getting pregnant

Wrong, no specific diets have been proven to improve chances of conceiving. In fact, the risk is that following some diets could lead you to lack essential nutrients and vitamins.What is recommended is to follow a healthy and balanced diet with fruits and vegetables, whole grain foods and lean proteins. According to studies, a lack of vitamin D could lower your chances of conceiving. Vitamin D can be obtained via exposure to sunlight. It is also found in oily fishes, liver, egg yolks, some cheeses and red meat.Maintaining a healthy weight is also important. It's best to ask your doctor’s advice to be sure of which foods to opt for and which to avoid.

Stress reduces chances of conceiving

Probably yes, stress can contribute to lower IVF success rate.Many studies tend to show that stress can play a role in infertility issues, whether the couple is trying to get pregnant via IVF or not. Even if there is not yet enough data to show a clear link, most doctors believe that stress can lower chances of getting pregnant. While finding ways to reduce stress can help, this can only do so much, and won’t solve fertility issues such as low sperm count. Yoga exercises, massages and relaxation are all great methods for becoming more relaxed.

Acupuncture helps women to become pregnant

Perhaps. Doctors and scientists have different opinions on whether acupuncture can play a role in improving conception rates.If you want to boost your fertility, you might consider using acupuncture. It is believed that this technique increases blood flow and boosts embryo implantation. However, scientific opinion is divided when it comes to the question of whether this traditional Chinese therapy has a positive effect on pregnancy rate. Some doctors conclude that it is beneficial while others think quite the contrary. Wherever the truth of the matter, acupuncture is entirely harmless and may well help you to relax.

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