Top 8 tips for IVF and ICSI patients

1. Read “Lifestyle & Pregnancy
The same risk factors and problems apply before you are pregnant, so if you are attempting IVF, follow these simple tips to ensure that your IVF embryos have the best chance of a successful implantation.

2. Choose your IVF centre and fertility doctor wisely
Remember that there are no rules on the web and that not everything you see there is necessarily true. This is especially true of the IVF forums.

3. Be philosophical
Always remember that IVF is not 100% successful. While the best units have high pregnancy rates, there is always a possibility that it may not work this time around. You can’t change the pregnancy rate, so being philosophical about the outcome significantly reduces the stress of IVF and this in turn may actually increase your chances!

4. Find a friend
As you go through your IVF cycle, it always helps to have someone to talk to and share the burden. Often it is your partner, but equally it may be a good friend or relative.

5. Get your man in shape
Your baby carries your husband’s chromosomes and genes as well as yours. Therefore anything that may cause damage to his sperm will result in poorer IVF success rates, or in miscarriage. He should reduce or stop smoking, binge drinking, hot saunas or baths for the three months leading up to your IVF and focus on getting adequate nutrition as well as keeping his weight within the normal range. Same things you should be doing too!

6. Stress, stress, stress
Find ways to reduce stress. It is natural for stress levels to increase during your IVF cycle so plan to do it when work is a little less busy. Light exercises such as stretching, yoga, swimming or walking promote a feeling of wellness as does indulging in a hobby.

7. Feel-good hormones
Keeping up your spirits by being active, both mentally and physically, helps maintain good levels of feel-good hormones called endorphins. These in turn counteract the effects of stress. It is believed that acupuncture also works by the same mechanism.

8. Don’t delay IVF
The longer you delay, the lower your pregnancy rate. Once you have decided that IVF is your next move, it is best to start soon. This is especially true if you are above 35 years of age, your husband is above 45, or you have had ovarian damage eg ovarian cysts or endometriosis.