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Infertility / IVF. Dos and Donts

(24 Posts)
bigbadwritersblock Thu 10-Jan-13 14:48:35


Ive been recently diagnosed with high fsh low amh , going for ivf in a couple of cycles. Trailing through websites Inc mumsnet to get tips of what to do and finding it hard going. I want to get back in control and at least feel as if I'm doing something. Please help me compile a list of ways to get your body ready for IVF and to assist fertility.

I've started acupuncture last night - felt a bit blah actually? But it's worth a try.

skaen Thu 10-Jan-13 14:50:39

I found acupuncture really helpful. Reflexology too, but I don't think it's recommended during the cycle you are having IVF in.

Bizarre tip which I liked: download a comedy podcast onto your phone or MP3 player and listen to it after embryo transfer. It really helped my mood.

worldgonecrazy Thu 10-Jan-13 14:57:19

I think the most important factor is realism. Most cycles aren't succesful. Once you get your head around that fact it becomes easier. However, if everything does go to plan, lots of eggs, blastocyst, etc. then you are as likely to get pregnant as anyone else who doesn't need IVF but has sex at the right time of the month IYSWIM?

I also did acupuncture, and maintained this through my pregnancy. Did nothing during the 2ww, just leading up to it and afterwards.

Drinking a cup of plain hot water morning and evening is supposed to boost the energy meridiens around the womb - lot of woo but at least you feel like you're doing something to help.

I ate chocolate cake too, and gave up caffeine and alcohol for 3 months before.

And don't underestimate the emotional toll that IVF takes on you and your partner, and family and friends supporting you through it.

Smudging Thu 10-Jan-13 15:05:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bigbadwritersblock Thu 10-Jan-13 17:17:46

Have recently read a small amount of aspirin a day can help with ivf as increases blood flow to all areas. Also avocado?

Unfortunately my Dad has lung cancer and mum totally stressed being his carer - my sister had ivf - thought she would help but she hasn't called me since I found out I had to have it, told me over text I might have to have an egg donor and rerplied to my text telling her I needed ivf telling ne her dog was off it's food?! So think family support is out - MIL FIL very off hand with us anyway....

lozster Fri 11-Jan-13 11:48:01

Agree with worldgonecrazy - realism is the most important thing. Ivf is a numbers game - every round someone will get pregnant and several others will not. It's not your fault, it's not the drs fault.

I am pregnant after 1 FET and 3 full cycles. I can tell you what I did but I can't tell you which action was the determining factor. Probably none. First, for all cycles, I told no family. Depends on your family I guess but I read a huge number of threads where family members were not good sources of support and once they are told you can't untell them. Second I joined fertility friends - sorry mumsnet but the level of knowledge and experience is higher there. Before the second round I stopped drinking any alcohol or caffeine. I also tried to exercise more. There are some papers that suggest that even a modest weight loss can help. I also upped the amount of protein in my diet as I am veggie. I also let the woo get to me and bought a relaxation cd. Didn't use it again after cycle 2. I changed from a folic acid tablet to a combined pre-pregnancy multi vit. Post cycle 2 I started taking dhea. I had already bought this (you need to import from the usa but it is relatively cheap) following advise from fertility friends however at my cycle two follow up appointment my private consultant recommended it and gave me several papers demonstrating efficacy. I then went back to the nhs for a FET and the nhs consultant also recommended this. Fourth round I was still not drinking alcohol or caffeine, was exercising and eating well, taking the vit and the dhea. I stopped exercise when I started stimming. I got 4 eggs, 3 fertilised and were deemed to be of equal quality. The embryologist recommended trying to get to blastocyst (5 day transfer) as they all looked good and I was bleeding post retrieval for a couple of days anyway. All other transfers had been 3 days. By day five one little fella had given up, one was blastocyst and one was slightly delayed in growth. The two survivors went back in where as I had only put one back before. Also, the transfer was difficult so a consultant was called who did it under ultra sound. This was the first time I had had a guided transfer. I am now a nervous 11 + 2.

So, hardly a controlled experiment! Take your pick as to which factor was key. My mantra (that some one on here told me many years ago) is that ivf should not be considered as a one off treatment but as a course. For your own sanity have at least the next step planned out in your head in the event it doesn't work. Having a plan gave me a sense of purpose and a shared vision with my partner.

lozster Fri 11-Jan-13 11:53:09

Just noticed you are thinking of taking aspirin. I have heard of this in some cases but don't do this without talking to your doctor. Aspirin and ibuprofen are not recommended during ivf and later in pregnancy. Just stick with parecetomol if you need pain relief.

ExpatAl Fri 11-Jan-13 12:17:33

Hi. I also agree that it's a numbers game. I am pregnant after IVF - it's early days but I've seen a heartbeat and it looks good. This is my second IVF pregnancy.
I kept active during stims and after transfer but no exercise other than walking. As the 2ww wait fell during Christmas and we were with my parents I ate and drank things that were probably not ideal. During the 2ww of my last pregnancy I did the same. I don't drink much anyway but definitely had the odd belgian beer. To me it feels important to stay normal as much as possible and not put too many restrictions on yourself. If you do, it leads to feeling responsible for all of it (which actually is the clinics intention). Unless you're bungee jumping it will stick if it's meant to.
My dh took wellman vits and I took a prenatal containing 8mg folic acid, eskimo fish oil twice a day, vitamin b complex and ubiquinol once a day. I also had 500 vitamin c in the mornings. I ate good quality protein and drank a lot of water. All of this matters way before stims. It's good to eat protein during stims and you should drink a lot of water but don't change your diet drastically. I see a lot of people advocating drinking pints of milk. It isn't actually that high in protein and lots of people are mildly intolerant.

None of the above is scientific in any way. Eat and drink well and do nice things with your dh. I think the one good bit of advice I can give you is to package up all your angst and stress about tests, details etc into a big mental box and hand it over to your consultant. That's what they're paid for. The very best of luck. x

ExpatAl Fri 11-Jan-13 12:23:56

P.S. Lots of herbs and supplements are quite powerful, so refer anything new or out of the box to your consultant. I showed all my supplements to mine. Remember that the stim drugs are designed to increase quality and maintain quality so by that stage it's out of your hands. Some supplements act against the drugs and can also stay in your system for quite some time. So before you start taking a huge list of weird and wonderful extras suggested on some of the forums take a look at the signature to see if they've ever been successful. Of course every person who has been pregnant swears it was because what they ate, drank, wore etc!
After my first transfer a friend mentioned that you should not wear any scent including moisturiser because it's bad for the embryos. I remeber that morning being quite generous with my perfume to compensate for the guy to having to be so up close and intimate with my hooha. Cue huge unfounded angst.

ExpatAl Fri 11-Jan-13 12:24:28

Sorry, I meant increase quantity and maintain quality.

RachelmyIVF Fri 11-Jan-13 15:29:42

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

ExpatAl Fri 11-Jan-13 17:17:10

Your post sounds like an ad Rachel

JRsandCoffee Sun 13-Jan-13 06:23:02

Hi, I also did quite a few things I shouldn't on the basis that life goes on! I also:

Did acupuncture (no herbs) for a couple of cycles before and during our cycle

Took a really good conception vitamin and got DH to do the same

Drank lots of water/ squash throughout (carried a sports bottle with me)

Swam, walked the dog and did yoga

Ate well (apparently avocados are good!)

Joined fertility friends but tried not to get obsessed!

Took my drugs in the morning and tried to forget it the rest of the day. Tried to just roll with any crap feeling as temporary

Kept busy during 2ww

Was lucky first time 2 months before my 38th birthday with an elective single embryo transfer who was born in November at 35 weeks and is up for the third time tonight just now!

Good luck!

barbiecollector Sun 13-Jan-13 06:44:00

A daily aspirin definitely helps with implantation. As does pineapple core.

lozster Sun 13-Jan-13 07:48:50

hmm Again, please consult you dr before taking aspirin or anything other than paracetamol.

Where it is prescribed it is baby aspirin and only taken on certain days.

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Sun 13-Jan-13 07:54:37

Echo what people have said up thread. Acupuncture (there are those who have had specific training for women with fertility problems), exercise and try to reduce your stress levels.

Also don't overlook the health of your partner - he should be doing what he can to keep himself and his sperm healthy.

Good luck.

worldgonecrazy Mon 14-Jan-13 08:08:46

Re: aspirin, the second round I was advised to take junior aspirin, which is a low dose aspirin. By the time I got to the third round the advice was to not take any aspirin. I guess the advice depends on the clinic you go to.

One big thing I forgot, my consultant also prescribed Metformin as I have PCOS (controlled through weight management). My GP would not prescribe it, but my (private) consultant didn't think it would do any harm and might do some good.

mammmamia Mon 14-Jan-13 08:22:52

I also had acupuncture which really relaxed me.

Found a lot of support through Fertility Friends - sorry mumsnet as someone else said but on that site you will find people with exactly the same situation and that can be really helpful. I'm sorry to hear about your family situation and if you can find support through these sites its worth a go.

I went on a major fitness drive for about a month before I started and that really helped me feel good about myself. Ultimately it ensured I was in the best possible physical shape for my pregnancy which turned out to be twins so was glad about that. Best of luck to you.

lendi Tue 15-Jan-13 14:26:54

Another vote for acupuncture. It can turn out to be expensive depending on how often you have it. Mine suggesting going weekly to prepare my body, which I did for a while then took a break then went during stimulation prob 1-2 per week and then twice on day of embryo transfer and a few times during 2ww. Think the evidence is only for immediately before/after embryo transfer but I found it helped to relax me and Gave me someone with experience of the ivf process that i could talk to.

Also did:
Protein shakes
Pregnacare conception
Zita west vital dha
Vit D high dose

Totally failed to not get obsessed with it all. It is all consuming.

RachelmyIVF Thu 17-Jan-13 13:55:55

I guess it does! but it wasn't intentional.

Thewhingingdefective Thu 17-Jan-13 20:23:59

Acupuncture - just helped me relax. My acupuncture lady wasn't particularly knowledgeable about fertility (digestive system was her 'thing') but she did general well being stuff for me. I agree with those who said it leaves you feeling quite knackered, but in a nice way.

Taking as much time off as you feel suits you. With my first cycle I had a lot of sick leave as couldn't face work. With my second cycle, work was a welcome distraction.

Eat a good diet. Lots of protein. Protein drinks too. Lots of milk and water to avoid OHSS.

Treat yourself - DH and I went out for lots of meals and generally tried to give each other lots of TLC to boost morale.

Book a holiday. Have something nice to look forward to post treatment. We booked two weeks at the Ekies Manor All Senses Resort in Halkidiki as it was perfect wether the treatment worked or not.

Swim or do whatever gentle exercise you enjoy.

Take a prenatal vitamin/folic acid.

Tell whoever you will feel happy knowing about your IVF and who will be a sounding board. Alternatively, sign up to Fertility Friends if you want to keep it quiet in real life.

Accept that you will become completely focused on the cycle and nothing else will be as interesting or important.

Good luck x

Echocave Fri 01-Mar-13 18:47:35

Be realistic, take each stage as it comes, do NOT become obssessed with all the shit about AMH levels, numbers of follicles or even numbers of blastocysts.

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Andcake Mon 18-Mar-13 18:36:59

I had a diagnosis of low amh/ high fsh 4 years ago and although I never got to ivf (natural conceptions -2 mc - then my lovely ds) its a tough diagnosis as I know it reduces the odds but is not impossible. It sounds like you've found a high fsh clinic which is a great start. So you can compare My amh was 0.1 and fsh 11.9 (afc 4-5 depending). Their is a good book about natural high fsh conception called 'inconceivable'

I got success after trying lots of supplements to improve egg quality of the few eggs I had. A few thing other people have mentioned q10, zinc, vit d, b complex, healthy living etc. I hated accupunture ( so stressful but yoga gave me a mental break).

Although only possibly good for high fsh ladies their is a controversial supplement called dhea. For me one month of dhea got me a natural bfp (1st mc) whilst we were sorting ivf. Google it. I had one nhs dr tell me it was worth a shot. If even if ivf doesn't work it might be worth a try afterwards as with some women it can help nature along)

This site has lots of useful info
Also this American forum is full of high fsh ladies who are in the same boat.
Good luck

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