IVF: how to increase your chances of success

IVF: how to increase your chances of success

successful pregnancy

There are many factors that could lead your IVF attempt to a successful pregnancy. Our tips will help you increase your chances of getting pregnant.

BEFORE AND AFTER IVF

Adopt a healthy lifestyle

  • A balanced diet, enough sleep, physical activity, quit smoking and alcohol, and reducing stress are some healthy habits that you should practice every day. Also avoid smoking areas, as passive smoking is also harmful to your health.
  • Choose food supplements that will help your body prepare for pregnancy. Folic acid, vitamin D, omega-3, vitamins B6 and B12 will help you get pregnant easier, prepare your body for pregnancy, and boost the development of your baby.
  • Follow closely the medical and pharmaceutical advice for your treatment.
  • Pay attention to your treatment protocol, trying to take your medication at the same time every day. In the case of vaginal suppositories, it is recommended that you lie to bed for 15-20 minutes after inserting them for the best possible absorption.

 

Follow the maintenance & transport instructions for your medication

Keeping certain medicines in the refrigerator, if recommended by their manufacturer (and indicated on the packaging), is fundamental to maintain their quality, efficacy, and safety. A good tip is to use an isothermal bag to avoid temperature fluctuations after purchasing from pharmacy or transporting them to our clinic.

BEFORE YOUR IVF

Attention when it comes to sexual intercourse

When IVF is performed with your own eggs, you should have 2-3 days of sexual abstinence before the egg retrieval, as the potential penetration can displace the woman’s ovary, and this can be painful. This advice applies before and after egg retrieval, as well as before embryo transfer in the following days. Before transferring frozen embryos (either with your own eggs, donor eggs or double donor eggs) – you are advised to have sex with a condom. Ejaculation may have factors which will disrupt the microbial/bacterial flora of the vagina and potentially reduce the chances of embryo implantation.

All you need to know about the day of the embryo transfer

On the day of the embryo transfer you can have breakfast as usual, but at the same time you should try to drink plenty of fluids and water: when you arrive at the clinic it is essential to have a strong urge to urinate. The fluid in the bladder allows better viewing of the most suitable spot to deposit the embryo or embryos.

  1. Reduce stress. Embryo transfer is a very simple procedure performed transvaginally and with ultrasound monitoring. However, for many women it is a strong stress factor. Try to avoid the last-minute stress, by arriving at the clinic 20-30 minutes earlier for the appointment.
  2. All IVF treatments aim to increase the thickness and receptivity of the endometrium. Acupuncture is one of the indicated services, with sessions that are performed at the beginning of the treatment for ovarian stimulation, the day before as well as on the day of embryo transfer. Acupuncture has been recognized as a treatment for infertility by the World Health Organization since 1996. Two acupuncture sessions are recommended on the day of the embryo transfer: the first just before the transfer and the second immediately afterwards.

 

AFTER THE EMBRYO TRANSFER

Indicated lifestyle after IVF

The general recommendation after an embryo transfer is to continue your daily activities with caution.

Our advice:

  • Carefully follow the treatment protocol written by your IVF doctor. Avoid any medication that the doctor in charge of your treatment is not aware of, including any medication you were taking without a prescription. Do not consume any medication without letting the doctor know. However, if it is necessary, try paracetamol (maximum 4 x 1g/day).
  • Avoid the sea, the swimming pool, spa, or sauna for 2 weeks after the embryo transfer. Try only bath.
  • You can return to work with a short 2-3 day break immediately after the transfer. There are no indications for special rest or staying in bed, unless your work is particularly strenuous for your body (heavy loads, night shifts) or may endanger the fetus (chemicals, X-rays, etc.)
  • Reorganize and limit your moving around or travelling.
  • Vigorous exercise should be avoided, but gentle workout (e.g., walking) is recommended.
  • It is important not to dehydrate (about 2lt of water per day).
  • As far as food is concerned, the same applies as in pregnancy: try to eat a healthy and balanced diet, avoiding alcohol and reducing your consumption of tea and coffee, even soft drinks. In addition to the stimulants they contain, they are high in acids. Also, keep fruits and vegetables well washed, cook meat well-done (avoid raw meat and fish) and do not come into direct contact with cats or cat litter unless you are immune to toxoplasmosis (IgG positive).
  • There is no contraindication to travel after insemination. However, if you are travelling for a long period by car or plane, we recommend that you walk regularly, about every hour, and drink plenty of water.
  • In case of pregnancy, various complications such as miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy are possible. Therefore, we advise you to travel to countries where the hospital is able to deal with such complications in the first trimester of pregnancy.
  • We recommend avoiding sexual intercourse 10 days after embryo transfer and sexual intercourse with vaginal penetration during the first 3 months of pregnancy.
  • Avoid smoking areas, as passive smoking is also harmful to your health.

 

When to take a pregnancy test

Make sure you take the pregnancy 9 to 14 days after insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF) with embryo transfer. For reliable results, measure Human chorionic gonadotropin (β hCG) in the blood, the hormone that begins to be produced immediately after implantation. If the pregnancy test result is positive (if the level is higher than 50 mIU/ml after 10 days, then there is an early pregnancy), you will schedule an ultrasound with by your gynecologist after 10-15 days.

Avoid the urine test, which is often done too early and does not detect the exact level of the hormone β-HCG, which indicates that you are pregnant. Instead of a positive pregnancy test, you risk receiving a false negative or vice versa. Therefore, pregnancy will be confirmed by a blood test followed by an ultrasound one month after the embryo transfer.

Βleeding after a positive test

Vaginal bleeding is a symptom that does not necessarily mean that IVF treatment has failed. On the contrary, it may even indicate that implantation has taken place and the corresponding medical term is “implantation bleeding”. Therefore, even if vaginal bleeding occurs in the days following the β-HCG test, you should have a new blood test and under no circumstances should you stop your IVF medication until you know the result of the beta-HCG test. And of course, you should always inform your IVF doctor about your condition. It is possible to add progesterone injections to your treatment and at the same time have an ultrasound to check for any trophoblast detachment. This is another problem, which is usually benign if the fetus’s vital signs are good. In most cases, the hematoma causing the detachment will resolve on its own and the normal flow of pregnancy can resume, however, standard medical recommendations usually include a period of strict rest, prohibiting you from lifting weights and, in some cases, sexual abstinence.

After a negative test

The timing of your menstrual period depends mainly on the treatment you are undergoing. That is, if you have tried natural cycle embryo transfer or insemination (IUI), your period will usually come on the usual days. However, if you are on an in vitro fertilization (IVF) protocol, it will not come until two or three days after you stop taking the medication. If it does not come in this time, it is recommended that you consult your doctor. Note that the first period may be different in duration and intensity than usual.

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