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Remember these 5 things before you begin your IVF journey

Published on:23 August 2021, 21:31pm IST
Are you planning to take the In Vitro fertilization (IVF) route to parenthood? Here are some vital tips that will help before you initiate the treatment.
Dr. Madhuri Roy
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IVF
IVF may help you have a baby if you can't conceive naturally. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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To conceive a child is every parent’s dream. It can be heartbreaking if you can’t conceive naturally, especially after trying for years, for reasons that include poor quality of egg or sperm, genetic disease, fibroids, and endometriosis. In such cases, several couples have been opting for an assisted reproduction technology called In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) which helps increase the chances of conceiving a child. 

But before you take the plunge, there are certain factors that you must keep in mind.

Things to consider before going ahead for the IVF treatment
1. Decide your goal and be positive about achieving success in conceiving a child

The husband and wife need to mutually discuss and decide with a strong resolve to stick to the goal with a positive mindset until they succeed and conceive a child. They need to believe that it is possible and must keep alternative options Plan A, B and C ready, to achieve the goal.

IVF
A couple should be on the same page about starting a family via IVF.
Image courtesy: Shutterstock
2. Know the infertility treatment process and the best and worst-case scenarios:

Understand what infertility treatment is, and what it requires from you in the process through research on appropriate websites. Infertility treatment does not mean only IVF. Depending on the fertility assessment of the male and female, it is decided whether to do Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), IVF and/or ICSI treatment. There is a 10-15% chance that patients successfully conceive with IUI, which is much a cheaper alternative.

When is IVF required?

IVF is required when either the fallopian tubes are blocked, or when the quality of egg or sperm is poor. 

What is the IVF Process?

Preliminary blood tests are done to assess general health to check ovarian reserve (the number of eggs in the ovary). For the male partner, a sample of semen is stored as a back-up in case of inability to provide a sample on the day of the egg retrieval. 

Hormonal injections are started from Day 2 of the period and are given for approximately 9 days. These injections stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs, which are then retrieved under a short anesthesia (15-20 minutes approximately) using trans-vaginal ultrasound guidance – no cuts or stitches required! 

The eggs are fertilized with sperm; the resulting embryo is either implanted into the uterus right away or frozen for use later. Egg growth is monitored by ultrasound and a blood test done prior to the final egg maturation injection (HCG). Approximately 4-5 short visits to the clinic are required. Embryo transfer is a simple, painless procedure, done under ultrasound guidance without anesthesia. 

After an embryo transfer, progesterone is given to sustain the pregnancy. If you don’t like injections, you can opt for oral or vaginal progesterone. Progesterone supplementation may be increased if your progesterone levels are low. A pregnancy test would be advised after 14 days. These 14 days are the most emotionally difficult period, as you agonize over the outcome. Sharing your fears with a counselor or a close friend/family member helps reduce anxiety and stress. With the advancement of AHU, a clean room, IVF technology, hormones and expertise of IVF specialists, the general chances of pregnancy are very high, which is the best case scenario. Patients need to be ready for the worst case scenario where the IVF may fail. However, they need to stick to a goal, and try plan B or C which is our donor and surrogacy program.

Also Read: Should I delay IVF treatment till I get the COVID-19 vaccine? A doctor answers IVF-related fears amidst the pandemic

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Healthy eating will give a helping hand. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
3. Research and choose an ethical IVF center:

This is the key to success. One must choose an IVF center with good ethical standards and protocols that comply with the ICMR and ESHREE guidelines which assure chances of success. Select an appropriate time and plan your work schedule as per the visits required and take support from family and your boss if you are working, as you may need to go for treatment during work hours.

4. Lifestyle and nutrition assessments are to be taken before starting the IVF treatment:

The key to fertility is to keep a healthy weight. Maintaining a balanced diet, along with foods that boost the conceiving ability of both men and women and exercising on a regular basis, are a few lifestyle practices one must follow to conceive and achieve pregnancy.

Lifestyle Tips for IVF

  • Healthy eating: Use full-fat milk as it supports healthy ovulation. Avoid low-fat milk since research shows that ovulatory dysfunction increases. Consume protein from meat and vegetables. Consuming soy can help female fertility whereas men should particularly avoid soy. Eat more fiber, dark leafy greens, beans, and walnuts. Avoid trans fats, highly processed foods, and hydrogenated oils.
  • Stay active: Moderate workouts can minimize the risk of infertility (up to one hour) and increase the quality of sperm.
  • Maintain oral health: Oral health is vital. Cavities and gum diseases can negatively impact your IVF success and pregnancy.
  • Aim for a healthy weight: In terms of fertility for men and women, weight is one of the most important factors. In fact, being overweight or underweight is highly associated with increased infertility. 
  • Avoid alcohol: It can impact and influence conception and implantation, both on female and male fertility.
  • Forget stress – Stress can impair fertility. Try yoga, acupuncture, breathing, meditation, and other mind-body therapies. Taking massages can help too.

Also Read: A fertility specialist busts the most common myths around IVF

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Patience pays in your journey to parenthood! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
5. Follow 5 T’s – Trust, Talent, Team work, Time and Treasure:

Once you decide to take the IVF route, trust the doctor for their talent and work as a team to succeed. The treatment requires commitment from both the husband and wife, and they should stick to the schedule of the treatment. Time is a critical success factor for treatment and cannot be compromised. Couples should aim at time management to be available and adjust their work and family schedule accordingly. The treatment requires treasure money, so plan your finances accordingly and keep finance options of loan on EMI ready to reduce the burden.

Don’t further delay your dream to become parents.

Dr. Madhuri Roy Dr. Madhuri Roy

Dr. Madhuri Roy Gynecologist & IVF Consultant Founder and Managing Director, Conceive IVF, Pune