Infertility can be a confusing time for anyone. Why can’t I get pregnant? When should I seek fertility advice? What is IVF? A lot of people put off fertility treatment because it can be quite daunting when in reality there are so many people in the same boat as you with all the same queries you have, too. Here at IVI, we have put together this blog to help answer some of the most frequently asked questions by our patients.
Is there anything we should avoid or anything we could do to improve our fertility?
Firstly, it is important to get to a healthy weight, it is advised for a woman to have a BMI of between 20 – 30 for the best chances of getting pregnant. Being over or underweight can cause hormone imbalances that can affect your fertility, furthermore being overweight whilst pregnant can lead to other complications like diabetes.
Improving your diet and exercise can also help. Vitamins such as Vitamin D and fish oil are proven to improve your fertility and should be introduced into your diet if not already.
Alcohol can cause ovulation issues, therefore, reducing your alcohol intake or completely eliminating it is also recommended.
Quit smoking! Smoking ages your reproductive organs by up to 10 years. Age is the biggest contributing factor when trying to get pregnant.
Cutting back on the coffee… although caffeine does not affect you being able to conceive, it has been proven that it increases the chances of early pregnancy and miscarriage.
When will I start IVF treatment?
Depending on your age you, it is recommended to seek medical advice after a specific time period when trying to conceive. For couples under the age of 35, you should see a doctor after a year, couples over the age of 35 you are to see a doctor after 6 months of trying.
How long will I need to take injections?
At IVI we tend to use something called ‘short protocol’ with a majority of our patients. This process means the IVF cycle lasts for around 2 weeks, requiring patients to take drugs to stimulate the ovaries for just 5-9 days before egg collection.
Are there any side effects associated with the IVF medication?
The most obvious side effect when taking your IVF medication is mood changes, a lot of our patients have said they feel a lot more emotional than usual and can have mood swings. However, this is expected due to the change in hormone levels. There are also other temporary side effects that you should prepare for, feeling bloated is extremely common due to the ovaries growing in size. You may also experience headaches cramps and breast tenderness when taking your stimulation drugs.
Can we have sexual intercourse whilst in treatment?
Sex during the stimulation phase of an IVF cycle is acceptable as long as the couple is using a form of barrier contraceptive, such as a condom to avoid the chances of a multiple pregnancy. Once the embryo transfer has taken place, sexual intercourse is not advised for around 5 – 7 days: this is known as “pelvic rest”.
What’s your clinic success rate?
Success rates are a good indicator when deciding what clinic to use when starting treatment. A lot of patients refer to the HFEA website to compare different clinics. However, the HFEA website will have backdated information so it is a good idea to visit the individual website for each clinic to get the most up to date information. The main statistic that most clinics work by is the fresh IVF cycle success rate. At IVI our fresh IVF cycle success rate is 71.4%, way above the national average of 33% All the information about IVI success rates can be found on our website.
Another way of answering all your fertility questions is by visiting our bi-weekly open evening where you will meet the team and be able to ask them any question relating to your treatment. Alternatively, you can book in for a first consultation where the doctor will access your fertility and advise next steps.