How To Ace The IVF Game: A 30-Day Guide To Diet, Hormones, Sex, And More

Sarmistha Neogy
·10-min read

Whether you’re about to start your In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) journey or are already on it, you are not alone. About 1 in 8 women across the globe need help in getting pregnancy and IVF is one of the most common assisted reproductive procedures employed today. It helps with fertilisation, embryo development, and implantation, and an IVF baby born from this procedure is just as healthy and happy as a normally conceived child.

But can you get this procedure to be a success in 30-days? Let’s find out.

What Is IVF?

The process of IVF works by using a combination of medicines and surgical procedures to help sperm fertilise an egg, and help the fertilised egg implant in your uterus. It has many steps, and it can potentially take a few months to complete the entire process. If you are lucky then you may be successful in the first try itself, but many people need more than one round of IVF to get pregnant.

Who Will Require IVF Treatment?

According to a CDC report, about six percent of women aged 15 to 44 years are unable to get pregnant after one year of trying to conceive. Also, about 12 percent of women aged 15 to 44 years have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term, regardless of marital status (impaired fecundity).

But it’s not a gender issue. In about 35 percent of couples with infertility, a male factor is identified along with a female factor. In about 8 percent of couples with infertility, a male factor is the only identifiable cause.

Remember that IVF as a procedure surely increases your chances of pregnancy if you’re having fertility problems, but there’s no guarantee. IVF is a very costly procedure. Couples need to prepare themselves mentally, emotionally and financially before opting for IVF.

How The Process Works: The 5 Stages Of IVF Cycle

The success rate of the procedure depends on a variety of factors, including the age of the woman and the reason for infertility. However, start the procedure with a positive mind.

The 30-days leading up to your IVF cycle are very important to ensure your body is healthy, strong, and fully prepared for this intense medical process. Here’s how it happens.

  • Ovarian stimulation

The doctors will inject hormones or other medicines to stimulate the ovaries to produce several eggs instead of just one egg that normally develops each month. This helps increase the chances of having at least one viable embryo to use during the IVF procedure.

Ovarian stimulation typically occurs over 10-days before your eggs are ready for collection. As part of the first step, you will have a vaginal ultrasound to monitor your ovarian follicles and blood tests to watch your oestrogen levels. Once the follicles are of adequate size, then doctors can move to the second step.

  • Egg retrieval

Exactly 36 hours after the injection, you’ll be at the fertility clinic where your doctor will harvest or take out the eggs. The timing of the egg retrieval is critical because waiting much longer than 36 hours risks ovulation and losing some or all the eggs. After the eggs are removed, they are then placed in a culture medium.

Following the procedure, you will experience some cramping for which you will be prescribed medication for relief.

  • Semen collection

If you are using a partner’s sperm, you will be asked for a semen sample the morning of the procedure. They can also use donor sperm.

  • Fertilisation

Once the sperm and egg have been combined, your medical team waits up to 20-hours to determine if fertilisation has taken place. The fertilised eggs then may be allowed to grow in the lab for up to six days before moving on to step five.

  • Embryo transfer

Two to five days after they retrieve the eggs, you will visit your doctor’s office again for embryo transfer. You will remain on hormones prior to the visit, and throughout the first trimester, to support your uterine lining called the endometrium.

Less than two weeks after the embryo transfer procedure, your doctor will run a blood test to determine whether you are pregnant.

Positive Pregnancy Test

If you receive a positive pregnancy test, the clinic will schedule an appointment for a scan at the clinic, at roughly 6-8 weeks.

What if your period arrives before the pregnancy test?

If your period arrives before the pregnancy test is due, it is the same as a negative pregnancy result. You will need to inform the fertility clinic and then they can advise on what needs to be done.

What Are The Side-effects Of IVF?

Blood Loss During Period
Blood Loss During Period

Cramps can be one of the side effects of IVF (Photo courtesy: iStock)

While IVF can be difficult emotionally, both for you and your partner and/or family, it is the physical difficult that you might experience first. Here are a few signs to watch out when you are undergoing IVF treatment:

  • Bloating

  • Cramping

  • Breast tenderness

  • Mood swings

  • Headaches

  • Allergic reaction to medicines

  • Bleeding

  • Infection

If you experience any of these, you must address it first with your doctor. Now, in addition to keeping a tab on the aforementioned symptoms, you mat also be advised to maintain a healthy dietary routine.

Foods To Eat During IVF Treatment

While your doctors may give you a diet chart and its best to first consult with them before starting on your own. Generally, these are the dietary dos and don’ts you’ll need to follow:

  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables

  • Include lean proteins like fish and poultry

  • Add in legumes, including beans, chickpeas, and lentils

  • Eat healthy fats, such as avocado, extra-virgin olive oil, nuts, and seeds

  • Avoid red meat, sugar, refined grains, and other highly processed foods

  • Cut out salt

  • Don’t eat outside food as you may get an intestinal infection.

  • Avoid alcohol and smoking

  • Don’t take caffeine

Exercises to Avoid During IVF Treatment

ivf baby
ivf baby

Avoid heavy exercises during the process. Image courtesy: iStock

During the IVF treatment, you may need to hold back on exercise. You can instead do some light exercises, only after consulting your doctor. Adopt a healthy sleep pattern, go to bed early and wake up early to keep yourself relaxed and positive.

According to the Northern California Medical Center, if you are a regular runner, biker, marathon runner or participate in workout regimens designed for moderate/advanced athletes, the advice is to take it easy during the fertility treatments.

In fact, there should be ‘no exercise’ during the week of egg retrieval. For many women, regular exercise is as much about stress relief as it is about weight loss or overall health. If you are one among them, then you need to find other ways of relieving stress.

Sleep cycle during IVF

A healthy lifestyle also means good sleep of 7-8 hours at night. It is very important to rejuvenate and heal the tissues.

A 2013 study found that the pregnancy rate for those who sleep 7 to 8 hours each night was significantly higher than those who slept for shorter or longer durations.

If you have the habit of staying awake till late, then you need to change your routine. Listen to soft music and stay away from mobile screens just before you sleep.

Chemicals To Avoid During IVF Treatment

Some chemicals that may affect your IVF cycle include:

  • Formaldehyde. You can find this in nail polish

  • Parabens, triclosan, and benzophenone: They may be found in cosmetics and even soap

  • Perfluorinated compounds: These are typically found in nonstick cooking tools.

Sex During IVF Treatment

After the embryo transfer procedure, you can usually resume all normal activities, including exercise. But it’s a good idea to avoid intercourse until the pregnancy test.

Although it is a very debatable issue, it is always best to consult your fertility expert about this as well.

Remember that depending on your medical condition and mental health, doctors may also suggest counselling. IVF procedure is extremely taxing not only on your body but also on your mind. A counsellor will be able to advise you and suggest ways in order to keep your spirits high during this time (including sexual spirits!).

Can You Travel During An IVF Treatment?

Embryo Transfer is the final and the most crucial step of IVF. A successful pregnancy outcome is predicted by the implantation of the embryo in the uterus.

Most experts recommend rest for a certain period, especially after the embryo transfer. If you are wondering whether it is safe to travel after embryo transfer, there is no evidence that travel affects IVF pregnancy rates. However, it is advisable to always consult your fertility expert before you plan any trip.

IVF Clinics in Singapore

IVF Baby
IVF Baby

The fifth stage of IVF is the embryo transfer (Photo Courtesy: Pixabay)

According to Healthxchange, about 15 percent of couples in Singapore are not able to conceive within 12 months of trying for a baby. In about 39 percent of these cases, the cause is female infertility. In 20 percent, it is male infertility, and in 26 per cent the problem lies with both partners.

IVF is not a simple journey. You need a good clinic which not only has the best facilities (to help you efficiently conceive an IVF baby) but also the best personnel. The ideal way is to ask around your trusted friends and acquaintances. If not, here’s a list of few IVF clinics which you may consider for your treatment.

WOMEN FERTILITY & FETAL CENTRE – DR. ANN TAN

3 Mount Elizabeth #11-12 Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre Singapore 228510

CONTACT DETAILS 6734 8188

INTERNATIONAL UROLOGY, FERTILITY & GYNAECOLOGY CENTRE

3 Mount Elizabeth Road, #10-09, Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, Singapore 228510

CONTACT DETAILS Tel: (65) 6838 1212 / (65) 6838 1218

24-hours: (65) 6535 8833 email@drmichaelwong.com

VIRTUS FERTILITY CENTRE

ADDRESS: 9 Scotts Road, Units #09-01 to 05, Scotts Medical Centre @ Pacific Plaza, Singapore 228210

CONTACT DETAILS 6460 4555

Cost Of IVF Procedure In Singapore

On January 2020, the cap on the number of IVF cycles was removed and the age limit of 45 was also lifted.

With this, more women can now go through IVF to conceive a baby (only available for married couples in Singapore). However, you need to remember that it is an expensive treatment and you need adequate savings for it. Also, there is no success guarantee.

You should always check with the clinic about the cost before the start of the treatment. The pricing for the treatment can be around $10,000 to $15,000 per cycle*.

At the end of the dat, don’t stress yourself too much thinking of the outcome. Follow the advice of your fertility expert and have faith. As for your partner, we do have some recommendations!

How Your Partner Can Help During The Process

As you know, in all of the aforementioned, one person who also plays a crucial role is your partner. Whether it be helping you maintain a healthy lifestyle, eat right, attend all doctor’s appointments, sex, or travel.

If you are that partner, here’s what you can do to help ease this process for the both of you.

  • Your wife will go through mood swings. Don’t lose your patience. Support her in this journey.

  • Help your wife with the daily home chores.

  • Monitor her health regularly.

  • Cook for her and encourage her to eat healthy.

  • Surprise her and cheer her mood when she is low. A simple hug can sometimes just work wonders.

  • Spend time with her, watch movies together, enjoy the morning sunrise, and just be there for each other.

Are you trying to get pregnancy through IVF? Share your experience with us here.

News Source: WebMD, Healthline

*Prices may vary based on changes implemented by hospitals. Please consult directly with them for the exact cost of the treatment.

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