How to Prepare for an IVF Cycle
You and your doctor have decided that In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is the best way for you to have a baby. Embarking on a fertility journey can be daunting. It is important to clearly understand your physicians’ treatment plan, building a stable foundation for a pathway to parenthood, that can seem unpredictable & certainly overwhelming.
So, let’s define what you need to know to prep for your IVF cycle.
What is IVF?
Its simplest definition, IVF is an assisted reproduction technology procedure where eggs are retrieved from ovaries & then fertilized by sperm in vitro in a specialized lab environment. In vitro in its Latin definition means “in glass” or “outside a living organism”
Here we nurture and encourage the growth of high-quality embryos that are then transferred into the uterus. Most often we transfer one high quality embryo at a time.
How To Prepare For IVF?
Ovarian Reserve Testing: Before we start an IVF cycle, we will do a bunch of testing. This includes testing your ovarian reserve to determine the quantity and quality of your eggs. We will look at your FSH, AMH and estrogen levels at the beginning of your menstrual cycle and will take an ultrasound to have a look at your ovaries.
Semen Analysis: Your partner will undergo a semen analysis prior to IVF to check their quantity and quality of their sperm. You can improve your sperm health by avoiding environmental factors like smoking, toxicants, certain drugs, and alcohol.
Infectious Disease Screening: You & your partner and/or donors will be screened for any infectious diseases that may negatively impact your IVF procedure and outcomes.
Uterine Exam: Prior to starting IVF, we will examine the lining of your uterus. This can be done either through a sonohysterography or by a hysteroscopy. A sonohyterography is where we inject fluid through the cervix into your uterus and use an ultrasound to create images of your uterine cavity. A hysteroscopy procedure utilizes a thin, lighted, and very flexible telescope that is inserted through your cervix into your uterus letting us have a great look at its health.
Vitamins & Medications: To prepare you for the stimulation phase of IVF, our team may recommend you start taking a prenatal vitamin, Folic Acid, Vitamin D, and possibly birth control pills and/or Lupron. We will also evaluate all your current medications including prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, and naturopathic / homeopathic remedies to make sure they don’t impede your ability to get pregnant.
Lifestyle Changes: In order to prep for your best outcome, we recommend you eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, stop smoking, drinking, taking any recreational drugs, and monitor your caffeine intake. Keep active to keep your mind and body in harmony but limit excessive & intense exercise.
If you have a high BMI, you should discuss with your medical team whether a weight loss plan is required.
Manage Your Stress Levels: Infertility journeys can be extremely stressful. Make sure you have a great dialogue with your partner & your healthcare team, voicing any concerns & questions you may have. It’s also important you have a community of support – this can be friends & family, a TTC group, a psychologist that is experienced with helping infertility patients – any great listener that doesn’t sit in judgement.
If you have any questions about IVF or any of our fertility treatment pathways, we are here with answers. You can reach out to us by calling 973.548.9900, contacting us via our website, or DMing us on our social handles.