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.
As a clinic specializing in IVF treatment in Bangkok, 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.
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 foetus’s health should you become pregnant.
Alcohol is another substance that should be avoided where possible. Drinking alcohol in the build-up to IVF treatment 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.
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.
Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medication
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.
Getting enough sleep is something that we all should endeavour 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 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.
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 mood changes common. Reducing stress is crucial as it can harm the chances of success 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.
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.