How To Increase Fertility
There is lots of evidence to show that diet and lifestyle can directly impact on your fertility health, not only for conception and preparing for IVF but also for your baby's development. You can decide your own personal action plan to increase your fertility; you’ll find that not only do you become fitter but, if you need IVF, you’ll feel more positive and in control.
- Proteins (chicken, oily fish & dried beans)
- Grains (Bread, cereals, rice, pasta etc)
- Dairy Foods which contain calcium (Milk, cheese & Yogurt)
Vitamins and minerals
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E – 400 IU
- Vitamin C – 100 mg
- Selenium 26 ugm
- Zinc 25 mg
- Lycopene 6 mg
- Folate 0.5mg
- Garlic 1000 mg
Exercise and weight
Managing your stress
- Talk to each other, remember you aren't going through this alone.
- Use Care's counselling service – A professional and confidential counselling service is available to all Care patients before, during and after treatment.
- Do not work for more than ten hours a day.
- Take regular breaks during the day and allow at least half an hour for meals.
- Do some exercise two or three times per week.
- Use relaxation techniques once a day (e.g. meditation or relaxation tapes etc).
- Be kind to yourself. Set aside some time each day to be by yourself – listen to music, have a relaxing bath or just take time out.
- Learn to say NO – to christenings, children’s birthday parties…. If you feel that an invitation will cause you anxiety, allow yourself the right to say no. You are dealing with enough when going through IVF so don’t expect more of yourself
- Do not set or accept deadlines that you cannot keep, most things can actually wait until tomorrow.
- Get sufficient sleep each night. Do something to relax you before going to bed and avoid drinking tea and coffee during the evening.
- Have a complete break away from everything as often as you can
- Do something fun at least once a week.
The impact of nutrition on fertility
Preparing for IVF, some real life experiences
Janine & Nicholas, Care Fertility Manchester patients
"As a woman who had never struggled to conceive I had a very naïve view of IVF – you only hear about success stories in the media or from friends so the reality took a while to get my head around. My doctor was very straight about DH's sperm issue and told us we needed to improve the quality as much as possible and the increase of anti-oxidants was crucial. This was coupled with seeing a BBC program which used anti-oxidant rich fruit smoothies with men who had been identified as having male factor fertility issues and their experiment saw incredible results – i.e. pregnant wives!!
We both started taking daily vitamins with added anti-oxidants and my hubby who is not a natural fruit eater had a berry based smoothie every night. We both had acupuncture, me 6 months in advance and through IVF cycle and DH did 3 months before treatment. Pretty much gave up alcohol and greatly reduced intake of tea and coffees.
When we had our 2nd ‘fresh’ cycle we immediately felt things were more positive as my DH results showed over a 40% improvement – considering how many sperm tests he had with zero change we were and still are convinced these little changes made all the difference and then for both embryo's to take and have 2 healthy little boys was the cherry on top.
Emotional prep – having a couple close to us share their ups and downs gave us an insight into the ‘roller coaster’ ride of IVF. I felt it was important that we sat down and agreed on how much we were prepared to spend and roughly outline how many attempts we felt was fair. I don't know if we would have stuck to our original plan but I feel it gave us as a couple a plan that we were both happy with – I think when you are in treatment you are so focused on having a baby and when it fails you are devastated more than you can anticipate and the drive to have a baby can be all consuming. You can lose focus on the rest of your life and possibly forget what you already have in your life.”
Sue and Andy, Care Fertility Nottingham patients
“Before treatment I did a very low calorie diet, I am overweight and felt that it couldn't do any harm and it also provided all the essential nutrients and vitamins I needed, so I was potentially more balanced than my usual diet.
I also changed jobs, I'd been working in a high pressure job with very long hours, so had little time to relax. I changed to a 9am – 5.30pm role, so I knew I'd have more 'me' time and that if the treatment was succesful, I'd be more relaxed.
My husband I went abroad just before treatment started and had a very relaxing break.
I treated myself to lots of pampering, things I enjoyed and that helped me chill out. I got some lovely Clarins oils and lots of girlie books. My friend also gave me a step-by-step book of IVF, which I read a chapter of daily on the run up. I felt this knowledge helped put me at ease, knowing what to expect and I also utilised the Care forum. Being able to chat with people experiencing the same thing was great.
I had a routine every night, when I did my injections – I recorded a tv series that was on daily and I did my injection in my bedroom, then I would lie down and watch my programme and just have a little chill. It really made the process easier and also, helped any ‘icky’ feelings pass, as I was lying down just watching tv.
I took pregnacare prior to and throughout treatment. I also really wanted to start aromatherapy but no-one in my area specialised in fertility treatments – so opted not to ultimately.”