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Infertility is one of the major socio-bane today and it affects millions of women and men across the world. This creates physical and mental stress leading to several psychological and metabolic abnormalities in couples. To overcome this, several alternate ways have been identified and practiced by gynaecologists in association with embryologists and one such technique is In-vitro Fertilization, which is commonly known as IVF. This procedure has brought hope and happiness to countless couples. Today, on the occasion of World IVF Day, we reached out to doctors to know how one can prepare for the procedure for a safe and healthy end result.
THE STRESS OF INFERTILITY AND IVF
Dr Anu Sadashiv B, Consultant - Reproductive medicine , Milann fertility and birthing Center says that taking three to six months to prepare your body for IVF is ideal. As he explains further, "The reason for that is because it takes three months or more for development of follicles during initial stages. The quality of your egg is therefore a direct representation of the environment in your body during the previous few months."
Dr. Louis Cojandaraj. A, Associate Professor, School of Allied Medical Sciences, Lovely Professional University (LPU), says "Infertility is one of the major socio-bane in the family which creates physical and mental stress leading to several psychological and metabolic abnormalities in the couples. To overcome this, several alternate ways have been identified and practiced by gynaecologists in association with embryologists and one such technique is In vitro fertilization abbreviated as IVF." He further goes on to say that preparation for this treatment requires a good and healthy body accompanied by relaxed and a right mindset.
PREPARING YOUR BODY FOR IVF
Let us see what our doctors have to say about the right way to prepare your bodies for IVF.
Eat healthy, eat right
According to Dr Sadashiv, "Foods which are themselves gametes or which nourish gametes or offspring in nature are considered to contain reproductive essence or 'Jing', according to Chinese medicine, and are believed to enhance fertility. These foods include nuts, seeds, egg, fish, seaweed, algae, oysters, pollen, oats, whole grains and sprouts. Water is essential and you must drink at least 1.5 to 2 litres of water a day." Adding to this, Dr Louis says, diet low in fat, and high in proteins accompanied by a proper balance of essential minerals and vitamins are ideal for women planning an IVF procedure.
Here, Dr Sadashiv says that during the IVF cycle, the ovaries will become larger and there is a risk of ovarian torsion. However, gentle daily exercise (i.e. walking, cycling or light jogging) is safe during the first steps of IVF. Aerobic exercise should be practised at a slow pace. Towards the end of the IVF cycle, before the egg collection, stay away from high-intensity exercise.
According to Dr Louis, studies have revealed that regular and adequate sleep helps in maintaining the homeostasis of the normal physiology of the body by reducing stress and increasing the overall health of the body. Adding to this Dr Sadashiv advice patients to look for relaxing activities that help you unwind and prepare your mind and body for sleep it could be reading, meditation, slow music, a light body stretch or simply a relaxing shower. He shares some tips for this
Stay away from stress
IVF can be a stressful experience for both you and your partner so it is important to take care of your relationship and each other, says Dr Sadashiv. Cortisol, a hormone that gets triggered by stress, can cause hormonal imbalances in both men and women and therefore it is possible for stress to affect fertility. Dr Louis adds to this and says that thinking about IVF can create stress in patients, hence certain relaxation therapies like yoga, listening to mild music, and moderate walking, are recommended to the patients because they are the best way to reduce stress.
There are a few supplements you can take to prepare your body prior to IVF. Start folic acid supplements at least a month before your IVF cycle begins. This vitamin is critically important, as it protects against brain and spinal birth defects in developing foetuses. Dr Sadashiv recommends the below mentioned supplements -
THINGS THAT YOU NEED TO AVOID
Both our experts agree that there are certain things that you need to avoid if you are going in for IVF. Let's take a look at what these are -
Quit alcohol and smoking
According to Dr Louis, "Studies have revealed that nicotine can enhance the aging process of the ovaries and ovarian reserve. This affects the quality of egg by increasing the thickness of the endometrial line which make them resistant to fertilization." Dr Sadashiv says that alcohol during IVF could have negative effects on the outcome of the IVF cycle.
Chemicals to avoid
Dr Sadashiv says that some household items are made with endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). EDCs interfere with hormones, reproductive health, prenatal development. EDCs are found in nail polish, cosmetics, food packaging material, plastic, non-stick cookware.
Medications to avoid
He further advices, "As you prepare to start your IVF cycle, tell your fertility doctor about any medications you take. Generally, anything that's safe to take during pregnancy, will be safe to take during IVF, if your doctor approves. NSAIDs like Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen, anti-depressants, anti seizure medications, chemotherapy drugs, thyroid medications and steroids affect fertility treatments."
Dr Louis says that though travelling restrictions are not there for the person who has undergone embryo transfer, it is advised to wait until the following day. Apart from this, travelling to rough destinations should be avoided until and unless there is an emergency need to travel.
Don't Google/Bing/yahoo search!
It is always advisable to consult your gynaecologist and clarify all your doubts about the process rather than searching in various search engines, which might give multiple opinions, and certain answers may cause unnecessary tension, says Dr Louis.
SEX DURING IVF
Dr Sadashiv says that it is safe to have sex during the first stage of the ovarian stimulation. However, it is best to avoid it towards the end of the cycle as there is a risk of follicular rupture and ovarian torsion. In case of premature ovulation of several eggs, there is a risk of multiple pregnancy if you are having unprotected sex. Your partner must abstain from sex for 2-5 days before their sperm sample collection to increase the chances of pregnancy.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A MALE PARTNER
According to Dr Sadashiv, "A 2019 study found that men who drank alcohol daily contributed to the reduced success of the cycle. Not getting enough sleep can affect testosterone levels and sperm quality. A lower BMI and good overall nutrition can improve the quality of sperm collected during IVF."
Here is how you can support your partner -
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