Prepare your body

For Women Icon

It is advisable to start preparing your body for IVF at least three months prior to commencing treatment.  This enables you to adapt and benefit from any changes you make.

Visit your doctor

Check to see if you are immune to rubella – should you require a vaccination then there will be a period of time when you should avoid getting pregnant (check with your doctor for latest advice).

Check your vitamin D level – suboptimal levels maybe associated with reduced fertility.

Make sure you are up to date with your cervical screening. 
If treatment is required, this should be undertaken prior to fertility treatment commencing.

Other blood tests and infection screenings are required prior to commencing IVF treatment.  See here

If you are taking any prescribed medications, discuss these with your doctor as some medications cannot be taken before or during pregnancy and your doctor may be able to prescribe an alternative for you.

Take a standard preconception vitamin supplement available from all good pharmacies. (Check that this contains folic acid.) 

Do not take any herbs as these may affect the medications that are given during the IVF cycle.

Avoid holidays to areas at risk of the ZIKA virus

Try to achieve a normal BMI Being underweight or overweight can interfere with ovulation and may increase the miscarriage rate.  Having extra fat tissue can negatively affect egg quality which in turn will lead to poorer embryo development and may also affect the endometrium where implantation occurs. It may also increase the amount of medication required during treatment.

Try to eat healthily.
Your diet should include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, unprocessed foods, lean proteins (e.g. fish and poultry) and healthy fats (e.g. avocado, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds).  Switch to organic foods wherever possible.

Tip: Do not crash diet before starting IVF as you may not have the correct balance of nutrients required for conception.

Keep well hydrated by drinking adequate amounts of water.

Reduce your intake of caffeine.

Regular moderate exercise
Walking, tennis, yoga and other light to moderate exercise are good for maintaining a healthy lifestyle leading up to IVF treatment however frequent strenuous exercise should be avoided as it can affect ovulation and fertility.

Sleep
Aim for 7-8 hours sleep per night

Stop smoking
Smoking is not only detrimental to your health but there is strong evidence that female smokers have reduced fertility and a higher miscarriage rate.

Smoking during pregnancy has adverse effects on the growing baby and can contribute to many childhood illnesses.  Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you do not smoke during the preconception period, during treatment or pregnancy.

Alcohol
There is no safe amount of alcohol to consume when you are pregnant so stop now!

Recreational drugs
Recreational drug use during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage, low birth weight and premature births as well as developmental delays and behavioural and learning problems in children, so again stop now!

For Men Icon

It takes around three months for your body to produce a fresh batch of sperm so start preparing your body at least three months prior to commencing fertility treatment.

Visit your doctor

Check your vitamin D level – suboptimal levels are associated with reduced fertility.

If you are taking any prescribed medications, discuss these with your doctor as some medications can affect sperm production and your doctor may be able to prescribe an alternative for you.

Consider taking a preconception supplement

Avoid holidays to areas at risk of the ZIKA virus

Try to achieve a normal BMI
Being underweight or overweight can affect sperm production. Adopt a healthy exercise regime to help you maintain this.

baby with vegetables

Eat healthily
It is important to eat a healthy and balanced diet. Foods that are thought to improve sperm quality include, avocado, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, lean beef, poultry, seafood, olive oil, lentils, nuts and dark chocolate

Avoid exposure to hazardous chemicals and plastics wherever possible. Experts agree that chemicals and pollutants are most likely playing a role in the global drop in sperm counts.

Keep things cool
Your testicles should be kept cool so avoid heating the scrotal area . Avoid the following; prolonged sitting, cycling, tight underwear and trousers, hot baths and saunas – cool showers are best.

Keep electronics off your lap.  Put your laptop on a cushion or pillow, or better still put is on a table.  Don’t keep your mobile phone in your trouser pockets either.

Stop smoking
It is thought that smoking can affect male reproduction – so stop now.

Alcohol
It is thought that too much alcohol may be detrimental to sperm quality so it best to cut right down or eliminate alcohol all together.

Recreational drugs
These have been proven to affect sperm quality and sperm count so again stop now.

Sleep
Aim for 7-8 hours sleep per night

For Everyone Icon

Support, life-work balance and relaxation
It is important to have support systems in place to help you cope with the rigours of IVF treatment.  Be kind to one another and be aware of the emotional ups and downs that you will both go through.  It is helpful to have a friend, family member or work colleague that you can confide in and this is particularly important for those doing the treatment alone.  Consider having counselling with a specialist fertility counsellor which can be very helpful.

Many people find it beneficial to adopt techniques that help them to relax and reduce stress such as acupuncture. 

Finally, it is best not to plan your IVF treatment when you are going through other big stressful things in your life.  You will need to focus all your energies into your treatment, and this is very difficult to do if you are worrying about work pressures or other major things occurring in your life.

Do remember that the staff at ARGC are here to help and support you.  Our team have many years of experience and are able assist you in making your journey as smooth as possible.  

Suggested Autumn Smoothie

summer smoothie

1 ½ cup almond milk or cow’s milk

1 ½ cups mixed summer berries (strawberries, blueberries etc)

1 banana

1 scoop protein powder (can use vegan powders such as pea)

3 cubes ice

Blend together and enjoy!

Do remember that the staff at ARGC are here to help and support you.  Our team have many years of experience and are able assist you in making your journey as smooth as possible.