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Drinking before IVF

(17 Posts)
Jenbot78 Mon 20-Jun-16 09:29:38

Hello, wondering if anyone else has had a few drinks in the months running up to IVF and then felt MASSIVELY guilty?

We are starting DR on 21st July and I said to myself that three months before IVF I would cut down/stop drinking. I have had at least three weekends that have involved more than a couple of drinks (at least a bottle of wine or more...) with friends and now I am majorly beating myself up about it. Note that this is being written on a Monday morning after going to see the Stone Roses on Saturday and having a few ciders...The guilt!!

Thing is, for the first time in a long time I am feeling quite good and relaxed about things and because of this have started being more sociable again after a long period of being miserable after IVF1 ended in a chemical pregnancy. Unfortunately that's when my resolve starts slipping....

Wondering if I have had a big impact on my chances now!!

blue2014 Mon 20-Jun-16 13:34:05

I honestly wouldn't worry, I don't think it has that much of an impact. I'm not a massive drinker but I didn't moderate my drinking before IVF really (didn't drink the week before egg collection but had a couple after). I was probably having around 6 glasses of wine a week at the time and my IVF round was successful. We just can't be perfect people at this time, it's too hard and it's too unfair. Don't feel guilty, super fertiles don't worry about it!

MehMehM3h Mon 20-Jun-16 14:06:50

I agree with blue2014 don't beat yourself up about it. The main thing is for you to be relaxed and happier in yourself. In my last cycle my nurse told me drinking was fine as long as it didn't end up with me beating myself up over it.

We're in our second cycle and am DR too, I'm not planning on giving up completely like I did last time. I may moderate it a bit.

bananafish81 Mon 20-Jun-16 15:03:37

On the 'diet and wine for fertility' front, turns out we ended up unintentionally doing a bit of a scientific experiment

In the run up to my second cycle in Jan, I was incredibly focused about what I ate, didn't drink, took the supplements religiously etc

In the run up to my most recent cycle in May, I hadn't been remotely diligent. Mainly because I didn't expect to be able to cycle again so quickly after my miscarriage in March, and I rationalised that as long as I was still technically miscarrying (retained products meant I was still technically neither pregnant nor un-pregnant for over 6 weeks) I could eat total crap. Apart from taking all the supplements, my lifestyle had been anything but virtuous. I ended up going out and getting absolutely shitfaced beyond all recognition one Sat night - not expecting that I'd be starting stims 5 days later. Oops.

I asked my Dr if it was worth delaying the cycle, as my lifestyle hadn't exactly been, er, optimal. He said as egg quality was almost entirely determined by age + the ovarian environment created by the stims protocol, my crap diet wasn't ideal, but ultimately wouldn't make much difference

Apparently he was right.

PGS testing showed that NONE of the 4 frosties from our Jan cycle were genetically normal.

Whereas 6 out of 9 of the embryos tested from this cycle were genetically normal

Not advocating this as a solid IVF preparation regime - but mainly just to say we definitely shouldn't beat ourselves up about treating ourself from time to time. I'm sure reducing stress endorphins is probably far more beneficial overall 

Jenbot78 Mon 20-Jun-16 17:21:35

Thanks so much everyone, feel a lot better now. Bananafish that made me laugh about getting shitfaced! Hope your cycle goes well. Mehmehmeh, how is DR going? I hope not too many psycho episodes like I had last time I was DRing.

Blue 2014 too true about fertiles getting drunk all the time. Someone I was at uni with is totally living the London life and posted pics of her going out like five times a week. My other friend told me she was always doing cocaine too. Yet here she is, preggers! Grrrrrrrrrrr

MehMehM3h Mon 20-Jun-16 17:59:47

DR is going, was cramping a lot more than last time but the crazy has been mostly contained I think! Just fed up of it all and it's only week 2! Sigh

NotSpartacus Mon 20-Jun-16 18:04:58

That's really interesting bananafish. I have three blasts on ice and will be transferring 2 in a week or so. We didn't do PGS and I am hoping that one is normal (as we only have 3 it seems reasonable to allow nature to take its course). If it fails I don't think we will cycle again but if I did we would use PGS. Did your doc say anything about why you can have a high abnormality rate in one cycle and then not in the next? Is it just luck if the draw?

OP, I agree with the others. I am old (40) and figure that much of the advice is just fiddling around the edges. All that really matters is the state of my aged eggs... (What a cheerful thought!!)

bananafish81 Tue 21-Jun-16 08:41:48

Jen DH and I had the exact same discussion - we said how we we end up knowing SO much (too much!) about this whole process. About follicles containing eggs, eggs being mature, eggs fertilising, embryos developing at the right rate, embryos being graded ‘top quality’ based on appearance but being chromosomally abnormal, lining thickness, lining receptivity, immunes reactions - it’s like, how the fuck does ANYONE ever get pregnant? And yet all this fuckers on Jeremy Kyle and your local crackheads all seem to breed like rabbits. So the reason we try to lead saintly lives and do all the infertility woo alternative treatments etc isn’t because it actually makes much/any difference, but because it makes us feel like we have some kind of proactive role in a process where it’s terrifyingly out of control.

And because when you’re pouring every bit of your physical, emotional and financial energy into this process, you feel like you have to do everything you can so you don’t look back and go ‘if only’. It’s like the fertility equivalent of PPI!

I say this BTW as someone who as a supposedly rational, sceptical individual, still throws money at fertility woo like acupuncture and reflexology (and fucking Mayan abdominal massage on Friday, ‘just in case ‘it can help fix my broken uterus)

Sorry, that was a bit of a rant!!

tigerdog Tue 21-Jun-16 08:58:06

Jen your post sounds very familiar. The cycle of guilt, arrgghh! My first IVF cycle ended in a chemical pregnancy too, it's bloody shit flowers.

I gave up drinking before each IVF cycle and it did not make a joy of difference I'm sure. I just needed to feel like I'd given it my best shot. Banana is right, for me it's about control rather than actually making a difference (and for what it's worth, I'm the same with the woo and have also had a Mayan abdominal massage, acupuncture etc!!)

I think the general rule is, don't beat yourself up about it all! My good friends all have stories that involve realising they were pregnant because their hangover was worse than usual - they all thought I was mad for giving up drinking, and it wouldn't have even occurred to some people to do so.

Good luck with your next cycle!

bananafish81 Tue 21-Jun-16 15:17:58

Oh and NotSpartacus, I am very much a medical enigma, so I’m not sure the variation in my aneuploidy rate is terribly representative, as my hormones have been completely all over the shop beyond recognition.

I went from PCOS (fantastic ovarian reserve, brilliant FSH, AMH great) at 28, came off the pill to start TTC when I was 33, expecting to still have PCOS. My PCOS has gone, alone with all my eggs. In the space of 5 years my AMH has declined by 95%. My AFC is beyond pitiful. My FSH is horrific (17.6!), and it looks like I’m hurtling towards premature ovarian failure

On the basis of all investigations pointing to severely diminished ovarian reserve, we rushed to IVF very very quickly

We don’t know what happened for my hormones to have changed so drastically, but they did - and now, equally strangely, they seem to be returning to where there were before

ie I went from PCOS - DOR - PCO

First cycle I was def DOR. 7 eggs, 4 fert, all conked over after day 3 (ie all duds)

Second cycle I was DOR-ish - AMH of 1.5 but didn’t respond like a DOR person. 17 eggs, 12 fert, 5 blasts - one put back, and 4 frozen.

I got pregnant from the one that was put back, and subsequently miscarried at 10w - however tissue testing on the products of conception showed the foetus was chromosomally normal (ie the mc wasn’t due to embryo quality). And now that we’ve had the frosties tested, it turns out that one embryo was the only good one out of the five

The ovarian environment was likely still not brilliant, with hormones all over the place, and ongoing very low oestrogen issues. So, quantity wasn’t consistent with DOR, quality wasn’t consistent with my age.

Post pregnancy, we check my hormones and do a scan. Holy shit. My FSH is amazing. Actually, my bloods look like someone with PCOS cos the FSH:LH ratio is mental. So Dr says, hmm, let’s do a scan. Suddenly my ovaries are polycystic again. He says whatever the DOR was, it was some kind of blip, and we’re now seeing my true ovarian reserve again

Prev two cycles we’ve had to hit my ovaries over the head with the sledgehammer dose of stims. This time I’m on the mildest of mild doses. 10 months prior I had a total antral follicle count of 5. Now we’ve got 28 eggs. Which turned into 9 blasts suitable for biopsy and 6 of which were euploid.

So, the high abnormality rate in the 2nd cycle is likely to do with whatever craziness was going on with my hormones - esp my low oestrogen (oestrogen being very important for egg quality)

Third cycles my hormones were less all over the place, my oestrogen was decent, and the ovarian environment was healthier. So the aneuploidy rate was much more consistent with my age

My consultant said he’s been a fertility Dr since 1992 and I’m the most perplexing case he’s ever had. And he trained with Prof Robert Winston and knows his stuff

But thank god we did PGS. If we had gone through all 4 frosties and had multiple failed FET or more miscarriages I don’t think we’d have had the strength to carry on.

Jenbot78 Tue 21-Jun-16 19:31:41

Wow bananafish that's some journey you've been on. Sounds like you had a really good response last time, good news! Sorry to hear about the MC-that must have been a blow. If you don't mind me asking, did you change anything in terms of the supplements you were taking? I am taking C0q10 400mg per day, and a few other things linked to my Hashimotos (selenium, thiamin) as well as a ttc multivitamin.

Our last cycle we didn't get a brilliant response: 10 eggs, 8 fertilised, 3 made it to day five and one great one. The other two blasts weren't good enough to freeze apparently. I read a couple of different bits of research that appeared to find that high antithyroid antibodies (mine are through the roof >1300) can have an impact on embryo quality. I may just be clutching at straws tho...The docs just say it's because I'm old (38) which is obviously lovely to hear.

Tigerdog, yes CP after IVF 1 totes sucks! Sorry to hear about your CP too. I like to hope the fact that we got PG at all is a good sign, again maybe clutching at straws...! Mine happened right over Christmas, in fact I started fully bleeding on Christmas day with my whole family there (too much!!) DH and I have decided this time that we are going to keep it more on the down low. He has a massive family and they all seem to know everything about our journey! I can't take the pitying looks when I see them all...

I am also doing acupuncture even though I am not really sure if it isn't all a load of bollocks. Like everyone mentions, I think it is all about feeling in control!!

eurochick Tue 21-Jun-16 20:53:17

Some more anecdata.

I did four rounds. Round 1 I drank lightly throughout (including during the cycle). I got a bfp but miscarried. Rounds 2 and 3 were very clean living, throwing everything at it. They didn't work. We then took a break and planned to change clinic. We went to a big boozy Irish family party in November. A few days later on a whim I decided I wanted to go for one last round before Christmas and then change clinics in the new year. I had a load of Christmas parties at which I took it a bit easy but wasn't totally abstemious. Round 4 was the one that resulted in a baby. So my least clean living rounds were my most successful. Maybe I was more relaxed? Maybe it is pure coincidence. Who knows.

bananafish81 Thu 23-Jun-16 07:48:22

Jen yep, in the last year I’ve done 3 IVF cycles, 1 cancelled cycle, 1 pregnancy, 1 miscarriage, 1 ERPC and 1 hysteroscopy. It’s been quite a year!

Supplements wise I followed a lot of the advice from the book ‘It Starts with the egg’ - if you haven’t come across it yet, I can really recommend it. The author is a biochemist who went through IVF with diminished ovarian reserve, and ploughed all the research for evidence about what might help egg quality - it’s very easily digestible for the layperson, I found it made me feel like I was doing something proactive, if nothing else.

I followed the advice in the book about what supplements to take (I ignored the chapters about plastics and nail polish!), so ended up bloody rattling with pill

- DHEA (powerful hormone, check with your Dr first
- 300mg CoQ10 as ubiquinol
- Resveratrol
- 3mg Melatonin (not for TTC naturally, for IVF only)
- High dose Vitamin D
- High dose Vitamin C
- High dose Vitamin E
- Omega 3
- Selenium

plus my prenatal, 5mg folic acid (prescribed because I’m on epilepsy meds) and a probiotic


DHEA can be really beneficial for egg quality if you are a good candidate for taking it - so def worth getting your androgen levels checked first.

I’m so sorry to hear about your Hashimotos and Thyroid anitbodies - apart from the thyroid medications you’re already taking, have you been on / will you be on any immunes meds (e.g. prednisolone, intralipids, clexane) for your next cycle?

So with you on the acupuncture woo bollocks. My acupuncturist today asked if I’d tried Mayan massage, and I said I was having my first session on Friday. I casually referred to it as a ‘magic tummy rub’, and said something along the lines of ‘well if I’m throwing money at magic needles I might as well try our a magic tummy rub too’

Had been trying so hard to bite my tongue & keep schtumm about my total scepticism about acupuncture . Think ’magic needles’ might have blown that one!

So very sorry for your losses Jen and Tigerdog - and for yours too Euro, but so very happy that your fourth round had such a happy ending

Swissgemma Thu 23-Jun-16 07:54:55

We had 5 rounds of ivf tried every approach.... The final cycle worked - I was grumpy, went drinking during the cycle, carried on spinning daily, was adamant it was going to fail, just wanted to get it over and get on with my life. I was done with ivf, my husband wanted one more go / I didn't want that what if hanging over us for ever so said ok, one more go. I was so so negative! We now have a miracle menace! So I honestly think nothing can influence it! Just think of all the drunk people who get pregnant from one night stands!

Fuzzywuzzywasabear Thu 23-Jun-16 07:55:09

I drank up to and during our cycle, but not excessively during - a glass or two of wine a week, nothing after EC as was too ill.

Our cycle was successful I'm 31 weeks.

Anything that keeps you relaxed is good for you IMO it's such a stressful process.

Good luck with your treatment flowers

stealthbanana Thu 23-Jun-16 21:54:23

I drank throughout my EC cycle (did a freeze all) and up to my FET too. Mostly moderately but I had a couple of blowout work dinners where <much> wine was consumed grin. I also lived on mostly pizza during stims as I was feeling sick.

The first transfer worked. I think it's good to be healthy during IVF as you're hitting your body with a large hammer (I found myself v v run down by the end of it although I had 20 days of stims which is a lot and lots of eggs too) but I don't believe alcohol has much impact.

Mind you, I think the official stats point to it being better to not drink - but I don't know if that's because women who don't drink are also taking their vits and supplements or some other confounding effect. I suspect so.

Jenbot78 Sat 25-Jun-16 14:48:16

Congrats to those of you who got your BFPs and thanks so much for sharing your stories, gives me some hope that this nightmare journey will end at some point! To those still on this treadmill, good luck to you all smile

We are off for our initial consultation on Tuesday...Have so enjoyed being off the rollercoaster for a little bit, it now fills me with apprehension.

Trying to keep life as normal as possible while we are going through it (doing lots of sociable things etc.) but not sure how successful I will be...I seem to recall the last cycle I spent a couple of weeks off work lying about watching films (it was winter!) and going for the occasional walk. Most of the time I was on my own. It was really unhelpful and just added to the anxiety/rumination. Won't be doing that again!

Bananafish yes on Prednisolone for this cycle 20mgs from day 6 of EC. On another board someone suggested that this maybe won't cut it and that I would need intralipids so we'll see how it all works out. The clinic didn't want to do expensive immunes testing as felt that pred could cut it. I'm not so sure.... For me it appears the immunes issue is the thing that is wrong (apart from being old!)

Anyone have any top tips for getting through the next few months please let me know!!

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