Lifestyle and IVF

The role of lifestyle factors is often underrated in the outcome of an IVF or ICSI cycle. Here are the top six lifestyle factors that may have a bearing on your IVF treatment

If you smoke, or your partner does, you could be seriously jeopardizing the quality of embryos generated by IVF or ICSI. Cigarette smokers have repeatedly been shown to have poorer quality eggs or sperm and this in turn affects the number and quality of the embryos that subsequently develop. Pregnancy rates can be up to 30% lower and miscarriages can be almost doubled for heavy smokers.

The link between alcohol consumption and IVF has taken longer to prove, but we now know that women who drink more than twice a week, even moderately, reduce their chances by up to 20%.

If you consume four or more cups of coffee, tea or other caffeine containing beverage, this again adversely affects the IVF cycle, reducing pregnancy rates by up to a quarter.

It goes without saying that a nutritionally deficient diet results in poor outcomes, whether naturally or by IVF. Eat healthy, take at least five colours of fruit & vegetables daily, drink plenty of water and avoid food fads. The addition of a good multivitamin & mineral supplement is also recommended, along with daily folic acid.

Stress changes bodily functions and reduces the ability of IVF embryos to implant successfully into the uterus. While it may sometimes be unavoidable, especially in the office, make time for stress relieving activities to counteract the negative effects. Gentle exercise eg swimming or yoga, engaging in a hobby and making sure that you get adequate rest are all important tools in managing stress effectively.

It has been conclusively demonstrated that overweight women take longer to conceive whether naturally or by IVF, and at the same time, suffer more miscarriage. If you are obese, be prepared to accept almost 30% reduction in the ability of IVF to get you pregnant.

It is clear that you can influence your ability to get pregnant, either naturally or by IVF, by making healthy lifestyle choices. This could make the difference between success and failure. So make a start by taking charge of your lifestyle and boost your chances of a successful pregnancy, whether naturally or by IVF.