Preparing for IVF
When you’re thinking about starting IVF treatment, you will likely feel a whole range of emotions, including excitement, anticipation and anxiety. Feeling prepared can definitely help. And there are some things we can do to help you feel supported, empowered and therefore more in control at each stage of your fertility journey.
There is lots of information available, and our teams are always here to answer your questions. You may need information about costs and the various funding packages available, or the range of tests and treatments we offer, or perhaps a detailed outline of what happens at each stage of your treatment. We have resources available on all these things and more.
We also host regular Virtual Information Events with live Q&A sessions, to answer your questions and provide you with all the information you need to feel confident in taking the next step in your journey to family.
All of our teams have lots of experience and knowledge about fertility. When you first contact CARE, you will likely speak with our new patient enquiry team, who will provide you with the information you need to help you decide on starting treatment and which clinic to choose (you can contact them on 0800 564 2270). Then when you become a CARE patient, our CAREpals team will reach out to check if you need any support with completing forms or if you have any questions about anything, including your Consultation. Our doctors, nurses and embryologists will be with you throughout your journey to make sure you have everything you need to feel confident and reassured that you are in the very best hands to help you on your journey to parenthood.
There are a number of lifestyle changes you can make in order to prepare your body for IVF, for more information visit our page top tips for improving fertility.
Maintain a healthy and balanced diet
With the pressures and stresses of everyday life, it can sometimes be challenging to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. However, to have your best personal chance of success during your IVF journey, it’s important that you try to maintain a healthy and balanced diet.
We recommend that you drink water regularly, it might sound obvious, but it is easy to forget to do this. Try to have at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day, as it is an excellent source of antioxidants that help reduce damage to your cells.
Vegetables such as spinach or kale provide prenatal nutrients like calcium and iron that can be incredibly beneficial.
The impact of alcohol on fertility
Do your best to reduce your alcohol intake. Alcohol can disrupt the female reproductive system, which can cause menstrual irregularities and ovulation failures.
Alcohol can also affect fertility by altering sperm count, size, shape, and motility.
We recommend that you stop smoking for the duration of your treatment. Cigarette smoke contains a lot of toxic substances that can impact both male and female fertility.
The issues can include abnormalities in sperm production in men, menstrual irregularities and ovulation failure in women.
Regular exercise can help you when trying to conceive. Exercising releases endorphins, can help you manage your weight, and significantly improve your mental health by reducing stress and anxiety.
Ideally, you should keep your testicles cooler than the rest of your body (slightly below body temperature).
They hang outside the body because sperm is best produced at a core temperature of two degrees below body temperature. Anything that heats your testicles – such as hot baths, tight underwear and working in a hot environment, will lower your sperm count. Therefore cool your testicles by wearing loose-fitting underwear. Avoid hot baths!
For more information on improving your sperm, read my blog: A (Relatively) Easy Guide to becoming a Sperm Machine.
Reduce your stress levels
To make sure you’re in the best place mentally, we suggest that you:
- Take some time to relax, and do things that make you happy
- Take regular breaks during your day
- Get plenty of sleep
- Don’t overwork yourself
- Say no to things that might cause you anxiety or stress
If you feel anxious or concerned before starting treatment, please talk to a member of your clinic team; we are here to support you. Alternative therapies, including acupuncture and hypnotherapy, may also help with stress relief.
Making sure you feel as in control as possible can help you throughout the process.
Support with CARE
Sometimes, speaking to patients who are currently undergoing IVF treatment or have previously undergone IVF treatment can be incredibly beneficial. The CARE forum can help connect you with current and former patients and those who are also considering treatment, ask any questions you might have about the patient experience, or see how others have felt about the treatment journey.
The forum can help ensure that you’re more prepared for IVF, as you’ll be aware of what to expect. However, we recognise that not everyone may feel comfortable discussing their journey with strangers or may want to discuss their thoughts and feelings with a professional. We offer both implications and support counselling to enable you to decide whether or not a particular type of treatment is right for you and make sure you feel completely comfortable during your journey. To find out more about our counselling services, please click here.
Whatever you feel you need at the start of your fertility journey, we are here for you at every step, and we’ll do everything we can to help you have a baby.