Improving Your Chances of IVF Success - dummies

Improving Your Chances of IVF Success

By Karin Hammarberg

Part of IVF & Beyond For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Research indicates that by getting into shape before you start IVF you can improve your odds of the treatment being successful. To boost your chances of overcoming infertility and falling pregnant, follow these rules:

  • Avoid smoking: Smokers have lower fertility than non-smokers and smoking reduces your chances of IVF success.

  • Don’t carry a lot of excess weight: Try to keep your body mass index (BMI) in the normal range of 18.5 to 25. A BMI higher than this can cause hormonal imbalances that disrupt ovulation and reduce sperm quality, which of course decrease the likelihood of conception, both spontaneous and with IVF. Don’t despair if you have a lot of weight to lose: Losing even just five to ten kilograms can greatly improve your chances of IVF success.

  • Follow a balanced diet: A well-balanced diet is essential not only for your health but also for the wellbeing of a growing foetus. The bulk of your daily diet should consist of cereals, pasta and rice. You should also have three to five servings of vegetables and two to four servings of fruit, and two to three servings each of low-fat dairy products and meat/poultry/fish/beans for protein. Finally, go easy on sweet goodies and fats.

  • Don’t consume too much caffeine: Women who consume a lot of caffeine — more than three cups of coffee per day — may take longer to conceive.

  • Restrict your alcohol intake: Alcohol is known to decrease fertility and increase the risk of miscarriage.

  • Take folic acid supplements: Getting enough folic acid before conception and during the early stages of pregnancy greatly reduces the risk of the baby having neural tube defects such as spina bifida.

  • Start IVF treatment ASAP: Age is IVF’s worst enemy. In a nutshell, your odds of having a successful pregnancy decrease dramatically as you approach age 40.