IVF is an effective method to help you conceive. If you intend to have an in-vitro fertilization, here are what you should know to improve your success rate in IVF.
What is an IVF?
IVF, also known as in vitro fertilization, is currently the most efficient and common method of artificially impregnating a woman. The process of an IVF involves fertilizing the patient’s egg cells (i.e. ova) outside of her body and subsequently implanting the fertilized egg back into her womb.
Reasons for which patients often choose to have an IVF include:
- The patient and/or her male partner have been diagnosed with infertility. Possible causes of this condition include:
- Endometriosis (i.e. the development of the uterine-lining tissue outside the uterus)
- Low sperm counts of the male partner
- Problems related to the uterus or the fallopian tubes
- Ovulation-related problems
- Antibody-related problems that affect the reproductive cells of either or both partners
- The inability of sperm to penetrate or survive in the cervical mucus
- Unexplained infertility
- The patient does not respond to other techniques such as the use of fertility drugs and intrauterine insemination (IUI)
- The patient’s fallopian tubes have been blocked
- The patient does not wish to naturally conceive (i.e. engage in sexual activities with a man)
IVF is a costly medical procedure that only has a certain amount of success chance, depending on certain factors of each individual case.
The success chance of IVF
Before choosing a clinic for your IVF, you should have a look at the IVF success rate of that specific clinic, which is usually available on their website.
Statistically, the success chance of IVFs declines as the patient gets older. The IVF success rates of patients in different age ranges have been estimated to be:
- 54.4% live births per egg retrieval for women under 35 years old
- 42% live births per egg retrieval for women between 35 and 37 years old
- 26.6% live births per egg retrieval for women between 38 and 40 years old
- 13.3% live births per egg retrieval for women between 41 and 42 years old
- 3.9% live births per egg retrieval for women above 43 years old
It is also important to note that the success chance of IVF tends to decline if the patient chooses to use her own egg cells. This explains why patients above 40 years of age often choose to use donated eggs instead of their own. The success rates of IVFs that use donated eggs have been noted to be so significantly less dependent on the patients’ age that they are even higher than that of below-35 patients’ IVFs.
However, keep in mind that the statistics mentioned above are of one egg retrieval. In general, patients are recommended to do more than one IVF cycle if they are able to as this tends to increase their chance of success. Specifically, patients should do at least 3 IVF cycles to increase their chance of success. After 5 IVF cycles, however, the success rate does not seem to continue increasing with the number of IVF cycles.
Increasing your chance of success
Whether or not your IVF is going to succeed depends on a variety of factors, many of which you have no control over at the time of treatment. These factors include:
- Your age
- The underlying cause of your infertility (if you have it)
- The quality of your male partner’s sperms (if you have one)
- Whether or not you are using donated eggs and/or sperms
- The quality of treatment provided by your IVF
- Your previous pregnancies including pregnancy losses (if you have had any)
- Previous fertility treatment(s) (if you have received any)
To get a general idea of your success rate, you can look at the public statistics of IVF success. You can also use IVF predicting tools, though these services are not always free. It is also important to note that, at the end of the day, the statistics you have learned are merely numbers and they do not (always) accurately indicate your success chances.
Another thing you could do is look up the success rate of the clinic you are going to. However, you should keep in mind of certain things when you do this:
- If the clinic has a high success rate, they may be turning away patients with low success chance, to begin with. They may also be doing multiple embryo transfers per cycle, which can be risky.
- You should also check the actual amount of IVF cases that they have carried out as a small client base can also give high success rates.
- Make sure you are looking at the actual live birth rate of the clinic instead of just the pregnancy rate.
Specific tips that may enhance your IVF success chance include:
- Diet and detox: Cleansing your body is always a good thing to do, regardless of whether you are having an IVF or not. However, you should refrain from taking on any drastic detox diet, especially if you have not consulted a nutritionist about this. Keep in mind that each and every one of us is different, so a detox diet that works for someone might not work for you. Moreover, there has been no scientific evidence indicating the desired increase in IVF success chance in any specific diet. In general, your best bet for optimizing your IVF success chance is having a well-balanced and healthy diet. In addition to improving your health, this can also help you maintain your weight in a healthy range, which is crucial for your pregnancy. If you have a male partner and are going to use his sperms, you can also ask him to take on the sperm-quality-improving diet.
- Acupuncture: The debate of whether acupuncture actually increases IVF success chance is still ongoing, as studies have yielded mixed results regarding this matter. If you have access to acupuncture, however, you should give it a try as acupuncture therapies are often affordable, risk-free, and they do have evidence supporting their effectiveness.
- Destress: As long as the method of destressing is not detrimental to your pregnancy, you should find ways to help yourself relax and destress. Stress has not been scientifically proven to directly reduce the success chance of IVF, but it does affect your other aspects which may, in turn, affect your IVF.
- Take vitamins: You should consider taking vitamin and/or mineral supplement that contains zinc, magnesium, selenium, iron, co-enzyme Q10, and vitamin A, B, E, C, as these vitamins and minerals are important for the fertilization and implantation process of your IVF. You should also take adequate amounts of fatty acids and folic acid, either via your diet or other sources. Before taking any supplement, however, you must always consult your doctor as there may be specific reasons why you cannot take certain supplements.
- For your male partner: If you have a male partner whose sperms you are using for the IVF, you should ask him to keep his testicles as “cool” as he can. This essentially means asking him to stay away from heat-inducing things like jacuzzis, hot baths, steam room, long periods of activity, and overall dehydration. You should also make sure that he drinks at least 2 liters of water a day, as dehydration can affect his sperm quality and, in turn, your pregnancy. Additionally, much like yourself, he should also have a well-balanced diet and adequate amounts of nutrition.
- Exercise: In addition to having a healthy diet, you should also exercise regularly in order to keep your body mass index (BMI) levels between 20 and 25. Being overweight or underweight can both significantly reduce the success chance of your IVF. Once you have actually started the IVF, however, you should refrain from doing strenuous exercises like pilates or push-ups.
- Stop smoking and drinking alcohol: If you are doing either one of these bad habits, now is a good time to stop. Smoking and alcohol consumption can both, without a doubt, affect your and your partner’s reproductive health.
- Tips on the egg collection day and transfer day: Prior to having the eggs collected, you should eat warm and nourishing foods like soups or porridges in the morning of. After the transfer, you should take some time off to allow your embryo(s) to implant. You should, however, refrain from having too much bed rest, as this might lower your IVF success chance.
If you want to get IVF medical traetment abroad. Please contact with GO.CARE manage team to get the consultant and schedule.
1. IVF cork – top 10 tips to improve your chances of success. http://www.aculife.ie/ivf-tips-cork/. Accessed April 11th 2018
2. What are the chances for IVF success? https://www.verywellfamily.com/what-are-the-chances-for-ivf-success-1960213. Accessed May 11th 2018
3. 9 myths and facts about boosting IVF. https://www.parents.com/getting-pregnant/infertility/treatments/in-vitro-fertilization-infertility-myths-facts/. Accessed May 11th 2018
4. IVF: What does it involve? https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/262798.php. Accessed May 11th 2018