The IVF Preparation Check List
You and your partner are considering IVF as an option. But there’s so many things to think about before deciding whether or not to start. It can be quite overwhelming. We understand the struggles, and hence we have come up with several important points that you and your partner should consider, before starting IVF:
The checklist below provides a list of questions/concerns that you need to discuss with your fertility doctor before starting the procedure:
Do we need IVF?
This is the most important question, and also the hardest to answer on our own. So how would we know if we actually need IVF. We would still need a fertility specialist to assess our condition in order to know if IVF is needed.
There are a few signs that usually point towards IVF, such as blocked fallopian tubes, azoospermia, women of advanced childbearing age. However, we would recommend you to consult a fertility specialist, or perhaps get a second opinion, when it comes to IVF. Do discuss with your doctor to weigh in your options.
How to mentally prepare for IVF?
Understanding what to expect when starting IVF would go a long way in helping us to be more mentally and emotionally prepared. The IVF process may differ from one doctor or clinic to another but the general process of how IVF works remains.
You can find more information on the IVF process in our next section. We believe this would help you prepare yourselves both mentally and emotionally. This allows you and your partner to fully commit to the IVF process. All the small things are done right, such as remembering to take your medication on time, can go a long way in maximizing your IVF success rates.
IVF can be a stressful journey and you and your partner need to be prepared for this. Relaxation techniques such as mindfulness, meditation or even simple breathing exercises can do wonders in reducing stress levels and help you to stay positive
IVF Success Tips Diet
A healthy diet can improve fertility. Ideally, you should prepare your body with a diet that is low in fat and high in protein. Iron, magnesium, calcium and potassium are some important nutrients that your body will need.
Your diet should also contain leafy greens, fruits and vegetables. It would be wise to avoid processed foods and those that are high in sugar.
A healthy diet will also help you to maintain a healthy weight. As being underweight or overweight can affect the success of IVF, you can see why you should start eating healthy before beginning the IVF journey.
Additionally, smoking, alcohol and caffeine have a negative effect on fertility so they should be avoided prior to and during IVF.
Another way to maintain a healthy weight is to exercise. Many women stop exercising during IVF in fear that it would have a negative effect on the potential pregnancy.
However, your doctor will most likely allow you to continue your exercise routine, especially if you already have a consistent fitness regimen.
Exercise, as well as a healthy diet, are keys to a healthy body mass index (BMI), which positively affects fertility.
The IVF journey is one that requires our full attention and commitment. It usually requires at least 1 month from start until the end. The question before starting IVF, would be to ask ourselves if we are able to prioritize IVF above all things such as work, leisure, and unhealthy lifestyle such as smoking or excessive alcohol consumption, to make it work.
Also, IVF preparation is not just for the wife, but for the husband as well. Although 80% of the work will be done by the wife, we believe that a husband plays a very important supporting role. The husband is the best cheerleader that a wife needs throughout the entire journey. Hence the husband should also be able to commit time to the entire IVF process.
Time preparation is important. As this helps us to understand how many days of leave that we would need to take off from our busy work schedule. Being able to separate work during the IVF journey is crucial, especially during important stretches such as the egg pick up, embryo transfer and two week wait period.
However, do take note not to delay starting your IVF for too long as well. This is because the success rates decrease with the increasing maternal age (wife's age). Do speak to your fertility doctor to weigh in the pros and cons of starting now versus delaying your IVF.
Sex hormones, sperm production and ovulation can improve when you get quality sleep. Make sure that you and your partner are getting enough sleep, especially for the days prior to starting the IVF process.
Here are some things that you can do to improve sleep quality and quantity:
- Have a set routine to go to bed and wake up at the same time daily.
- Keep your bedroom as a place of rest. If possible, keep electronics, phones, and TVs out of your room.
- Reduce caffeine and stop drinking alcohol as they can interfere with your sleep cycle.
- Wind down with teas that promote good sleep.
- Journaling may help put anxious thoughts to rest so that you can have a good night’s sleep.
Cost of IVF
As most of us may already be aware, the IVF procedure does not come cheap. Hence it would be important to plan ahead and set aside the total amount of money that we might have to spend, prior to starting IVF.
It will be important to understand the total amount required per IVF cycle. There are also many IVF packages available today. However, do take note if they include everything required to complete the entire IVF cycle. Important costs to look out for would be:
- Egg Pick Up Procedure (OPU)
- Embryo Transfer Procedure (ET)
- Frozen Embryo Transfer Fee (if applicable)
- Laboratory Fee (including ICSI if applicable)
- Embryo Freezing Fee (if applicable)
What vitamins should I take to prepare for IVF?
A good quality egg increases the chances of IVF success. It is worth investing in high-quality vitamins that work to enhance fertility.
Your fertility clinic will be able to advise you on the vitamins that you should (or should not) take. You should, at the very least be on Folic Acid before and during your IVF cycle. Always check with your doctor before starting on any supplements.
There are medications that can interfere with the fertility treatments that you will be receiving. Make sure to give your doctor a complete list of medication as well as supplements that you are on.
This should be done as soon as you decide that IVF is the way to go. Some medications that you need to stop might need some time before it is completely removed from your system.
Choosing a fertility clinic
The most obvious question to ask is whether the fertility clinic we plan to go to offers IVF. We should also find out if the fertility clinic offers more advanced IVF techniques such as ICSI or blastocyst transfer program. The success rates offered by the fertility clinic are also very important.
We will explore how to choose our fertility clinics in the section after the IVF process.
Choosing a fertility doctor
Choosing your fertility specialist doctor is also very important. A fertility specialist is the person who will be with us throughout our entire IVF journey. Hence it would be vital to go with a doctor whom we trust, and are comfortable communicating with.
In the next section, we will guide you through the IVF process step by step, to help you understand better what to expect.
Learn More About IVF
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