pregnancy ivf
Image: Pelayo Arbues via Unsplash

Going Through IVF? Here’s How to Increase Your Chances of Success According to an OBGYN

We spoke to one of NYC's leading infertility specialists

When you’re trying to get pregnant, there’s nothing you won’t do to increase your chances of having a baby. If you’re going down the IVF or fertility treatment route, there’s an added pressure to do whatever you can to make sure that an egg implants in the womb. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a series of procedures done to help with fertility or prevent genetic problems with the conception of a child, according to the Mayo Clinic. During this process, the eggs are collected from ovaries and fertilized by sperm in a lab. Then they are transferred to a uterus. While chances of success vary, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of success with IVF.

In fact, we spoke to one of New York City’s leading infertility specialists, obstetricians, and gynecologists about what she thinks is key in a more opportune treatment process. Keep reading for more.

 Dr. Lucky Sekhon is a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist, a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist, and an assistant clinical professor in the Mount Sinai Health System. She has particular expertise in fertility preservation (egg freezing), LGBTQ family building, and in-vitro fertilization. Dr. Sekhon maintains a busy clinical practice. On top of this, she continues to publish and present cutting edge clinical research in the field of reproductive medicine.

how to get pregnant
Image: via Dr. Lucky Sekhon

Tips on How to Prepare and Optimize Oneself Before Fertility Treatment and IVF

  • Diet: a Mediterranean-style diet (in some studies) shows improvement in success rates.
  • Drinking: Reduce/minimize alcohol intake.
  • Smoking: Quit smoking as soon as possible. It can accelerate ovarian aging and lead an embryo to be less likely to implant.
  • Supplements: If you have a low egg count/ovarian reserve, acupuncture and supplements such as coenzyme Q10 may help sensitize your body to IVF medications, improving how the ovaries respond
  • Working out: Exercise regularly beforehand, leading up to treatments, and remain active throughout the cycle with modifications. During the actual process of IVF stimulation, where our goal is to get all eggs to grow, it is important to avoid high impact exercise. This way, you can avoid twisting the ovary on itself and it is unable to untwist in a particular position. The restriction for high impact exercise stands from when we start seeing growth in the ovaries and until at least 1 – 2 weeks after the egg retrieval procedure. Regular exercise and maintaining a normal body weight improves fertility and the chance of an embryo implanting successfully.
  • Multivitamins: You should be on a prenatal vitamin containing 400mg folic acid. Also, your partner should take a multivitamin (which may help boost sperm quality).
  • Coffee: Caffeine is fine during the process of stimulating eggs to grow before egg retrieval for IVF, or to ovulate, but once implantation may be taking place (at or after an embryo transfer or insemination), limit caffeine consumption to less than 200mg per day.
  • Stress: Proactively manage stress. Ensure you are getting enough sleep, that you have social support, and are setting yourself up for success, mentally.
  • Acupuncture: This may be used leading up to, or alongside treatments. Studies have shown it can significantly reduce the stress associated with treatment and some studies. But not all, have shown improved live birth rates. It cannot harm your chances, so if you enjoy the experience, why. not add it to your regimen?
pregnancy ivf
Image: Janko Ferlic via Unsplash

Most Importantly, Talk to Your Doctor

Talk to your doctor for more information, always. They may have specific tips for your particular case. After all, they know the type of treatment you are undergoing. It is important to review any medical problems or medications. This is to ensure that you make necessary modifications in advance of treatment and/or pregnancy. It is also to make sure that you’re healthy and that it’s safe for you to undergo treatment.

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