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How to prepare for fertility treatment

Introduction: For many couples, preparing for fertility treatment can be a daunting and emotionally charged experience. Often coming after years of unsuccessful attempts to conceive, and sometimes following heartbreaking miscarriages, this journey may also involve significant financial investments and deeply held hopes of beginning a family. Understanding the necessary steps to prepare both physically and mentally can be overwhelming. At our IVF clinic in Bangkok, we strive to guide you through this process, offering vital information to optimize your chances of success. In this article, we detail important lifestyle adjustments and preparations you can make to support your fertility treatment journey.

Preparing for Fertility Treatment

For most couples, preparing for fertility treatment is an unsettling period. It usually comes after years of trying for a baby without success and sometimes after miscarriages had been experienced. For many couples, it will mean using their life savings in the hope that they will finally be able to start a family of their own.

Naturally, both partners will want to do all they can to prepare properly before the treatment begins, but sometimes knowing what you should and shouldn’t do can be confusing.

Guidance from Fertility Specialists

At First Fertility, we do all we can to inform couples about what they should do to prepare for treatment. In most cases, this preparation will begin weeks or months in advance to give them the best chance of success. This article will look at what you should do to get you both physically and mentally prepared to commence treatment.

Stop Smoking

If you are trying for a baby, either naturally or via IVF, both partners should quit smoking. There is the common misconception that this only applies to the female, but the male needs to stop smoking too. Smoking affects sperm and egg quality, so you need to stop at least three months before IVF starts as it can impact the success of IVF treatment.

Also, as it is bad for your overall health, it may affect your fetus’s health should you become pregnant.

Man breaks a cigarette

Man breaks a cigarette

Avoid Alcohol

Alcohol is another substance that should be avoided where possible. Drinking alcohol in the build-up to IVF treatment in Bangkok has been proven to lower success rates, and often alcohol and fertility medication don’t mix well. If you must drink, it should be in moderation in the build-up, and this means no more than four drinks per week and applies to both partners. The female should abstain altogether after embryo transfer.

Quit Recreational Drugs

Not only are recreational drugs illegal in Thailand, but they can also severely impact your fertility and, therefore, your chances of your IVF treatment being successful. Once again, as it applies to both sperm and egg production and quality, this should be done at least three months before your course of treatment is due to begin. In some cases, as the drugs will show up in blood tests, the doctor may refuse treatment.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Obesity is another factor that impacts fertility, either conceiving naturally or via IVF. Also, it can increase your chances of miscarriage. Conversely, being underweight can affect your fertility rate and chances of success, so you should speak to your doctor about your ideal BMI. You should do it at the earliest opportunity as it may involve a change of diet and introducing an exercise plan.

For men, being overweight can also affect sperm production and their ability to gain and maintain an erection. If you both get to and maintain a healthy weight, not only will it increase your chances of IVF being successful, but you will also feel much healthier and better about yourself.

Importance of Nutrition in IVF Preparation

Nutrition plays a massive part when it comes to fertility and our general health and wellbeing. However, as you are preparing for your course of IVF, it is more important than ever. It would be best to eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables with as much variety as possible. Lean protein, particularly fish, is essential, while whole grains and legumes are also beneficial. Healthy fats such as olive oil, oily fish and avocado will also increase your chances of IVF being successful.

You should also eliminate refined sugar and grains, salt, red meat, and processed foods in preparation for IVF and avoid high-fat dairy produce.

While we always believe that supplements should never be used as a substitute for a balanced diet, we suggest that patients take prenatal vitamin supplements to increase their intake of essential nutrients such as folic acid. It would be best to also speak to your doctor about other supplements such as fish oils, healthy fatty acids and vitamin D tablets.

However, you must take the best supplements as some are better than others.

healthy supplements including fish oils, and vitamin D tablets.

healthy supplements including fish oils, and vitamin D tablets.

Medication Considerations

Some prescription medications can react or interfere with the drugs that you need to take for IVF treatment. It is essential that you take a complete list, or even better, all your medication, with you so that the doctor can make changes if required.

Pain relievers, supplements, and anti-allergy medication should also be discussed to avoid any complications.

Importance of Sleep

Getting enough sleep is something that we all should endeavor to do, but most people lack enough sleep regularly. The goal should be to have between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, especially in the build-up to IVF treatment.

While not getting enough sleep is a common problem, getting too much can be equally damaging.

Exercise and IVF

Exercise is good for the body and the mind, and if you have a regular program, you don’t need to alter this before or during IVF treatment. However, we would suggest running no more than 20km per week as it can interfere with the blood supply to the uterus and impact the thickness of the uterine lining.

If you regularly run over 20km each week, you could do some swimming or elliptical training as an alternative.

Mental Health Considerations

It is essential that you are in the right frame of mind during the IVF treatment as it will be a stressful and emotionally draining experience with common mood changes. Reducing stress is crucial as it can harm the chances of your treatment’s success. There are several things that you could try to achieve this, such as yoga, acupuncture, mindfulness exercise or taking up a relaxing hobby.

Talking with friends and relatives is an excellent source of therapy for lots of people. If you find that stress and anxiety are an issue for you, we suggest speaking to your doctor.

Contact Us

If you would like more information on preparing for fertility treatment, you can +66 (0)2 652 0150-4 or contact us via our website.

Conclusion: Preparing for fertility treatment involves numerous lifestyle changes to optimize your chances of success. By adhering to guidelines on smoking cessation, alcohol and drug avoidance, maintaining a healthy weight, proper nutrition, and mental health care, you set a strong foundation for your journey. Don’t hesitate to discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider, as personalized advice can be invaluable. Your path to parenthood is significant, and following these steps can make the process smoother and more effective.

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is it important to stop smoking before fertility treatment?

Smoking affects both sperm and egg quality, potentially reducing the success rates of IVF treatment. It’s recommended to quit smoking at least three months before starting IVF to ensure the best possible outcomes. Both partners should refrain from smoking to improve overall health and the chances of a healthy pregnancy.

2. How does alcohol consumption impact IVF treatment?

Alcohol consumption has been proven to lower the success rates of IVF treatment and can interfere with fertility medications. It’s advisable for both partners to limit alcohol intake to no more than four drinks per week during the preparation phase and for the female partner to abstain completely after embryo transfer.

3. What is the effect of recreational drugs on fertility treatment?

Recreational drugs can severely impact fertility by affecting sperm and egg quality. The presence of these substances in blood tests may also lead to a refusal of treatment by the doctor. It’s essential to quit recreational drugs at least three months before starting fertility treatment.

4. Why is maintaining a healthy weight important before starting IVF?

Both obesity and being underweight can negatively affect fertility and IVF success rates. A healthy weight helps in improving overall well-being and increases the chances of a successful pregnancy. Men and women should consult their doctors to determine the ideal BMI and implement necessary dietary and exercise changes.

5. How does nutrition influence the success of IVF treatment?

Good nutrition plays a crucial role in overall health and fertility. Consuming a balanced diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats can increase the chances of IVF success. Avoiding refined sugars, high-fat dairy products, and processed foods is also important during preparation.

6. Are there specific supplements recommended before IVF treatment?

Prenatal vitamin supplements, including folic acid, fish oils, and vitamin D, are often recommended to boost essential nutrient intake. It’s best to consult with your doctor for personalized supplement advice and to choose high-quality supplements.

7. Why should I discuss my medications with the doctor before starting IVF?

Certain prescription and over-the-counter medications can interfere with IVF drugs. Bringing a comprehensive list of all medications you are currently taking will help the doctor adjust any treatments as necessary to avoid complications during the fertility treatment process.

8. How much sleep is recommended during IVF preparation?

It is recommended to get between seven to nine hours of sleep each night, especially leading up to IVF treatment. Both insufficient and excessive sleep can harm your health and potentially impact the success of the treatment.

9. Can I continue my regular exercise routine during IVF preparation?

Regular exercise is beneficial for physical and mental health. However, activities such as running should be limited to no more than 20km per week to avoid affecting the blood supply to the uterus. Alternatives like swimming or elliptical training can be considered for those who typically run more than this distance.

10. How can I manage stress during the IVF treatment process?

Managing stress is essential as it can affect the success of IVF treatment. Activities like yoga, acupuncture, mindfulness exercises, and hobbies can help reduce stress. Talking to friends and family or consulting with a doctor if stress and anxiety are significant issues can also provide support and relief.

  • Published on : Friday July 23, 2021
  • Last updated : Thursday July 11, 2024
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About the author

Michelle Tan is an IVF Consultant with 12 years of experience in fertility consulting. Having personally undergone IVF and surrogacy, she brings firsthand insight and empathy to her work. Based in Singapore, Michelle frequently travels to clinics in Bangkok, Phnom Penh, and Bishkek, sharing her expertise and supporting patients on their fertility journeys.