Egg cell backgroundIn vitro fertilization, commonly referred to as IVF, is a fertility treatment that is enjoying more and more success each year as a result of improvements in the techniques and understanding of the science. Each year, new discoveries and developments make it easier for doctors to give hope to couples that they can have the families they desperately want but have been unable to start on their own.

While science is at the core of the success of the treatment, the success of the cycle does depend in some ways on the activities of the couple before and after the treatment. Here is an overview of ways you can help improve your chances of IVF success, before, during and after:

Before the Cycle

There are many things a couple can do to help facilitate success for their IVF cycle. First of all, they should have a thorough evaluation by a fertility expert to make sure that their bodies are IVF-ready. For women, this includes a uterine cavity ultrasound or hysteroscopy that can identify any impediments to a healthy pregnancy, including fibroids, polyps or scar tissue that could be present. Women should also have their tubes checked for blockage or fluid. It would also be wise to determine if they have a sufficient ovarian reserve. For men, this means a sperm analysis to check for their sperm count, movement and shape. In addition, both men and women should review their health habits with the doctor to make sure that they are not participating in any activities that will work against IVF success, such as smoking, excessive alcohol or drug use, prescription or otherwise.

During the Cycle

Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions to the letter when you are actively in your cycle. Each of the prescriptions you are taking and administering is all part of a carefully orchestrated formula to get your reproductive system where it needs to be to conceive. Since timing is an important part of the process, keep to the plan.

It is also important to be as positive and relaxed as possible, which can be difficult when you have suffered disappointment before or are counting on the cycle to be the one that gets you pregnant. Emotional states have not been linked directly to success rates, but there is a growing body of evidence that stress can be a detriment to success. Hold on to the hopeful part of yourself that is ready to become a parent, and focus on that for the time being.

After the Cycle

Contrary to popular belief, there is no need to take it easy after embryo transfer. In fact, some studies show that bed rest is actually bad for the transfer, as it inhibits the normal blood flow patterns that occur during a patient’s regular activities. So the best thing you can do is to do what you normally would and try not to obsess about it.

Along those lines, some experts believe that being relaxed and watching a funny movie are also great ways to help facilitate success. So get a foot massage and watch a funny movie. There is no guarantee that these methods will help you get pregnant, but neither of them is going to hurt your chances.

IVF is enjoying better success rates than ever before, which is great news for thousands of couples in fertility treatment. Try these tips to help improve your chances for IVF success before, during and after your next treatment. This could be the time that makes your dreams of family the reality you always knew it could be.

Sources:

“8 IVF Success tips for Making a Baby.” www.attainfertility.com. Web. 31 March 2014. < http://attainfertility.com/article/ivf-success-tips>

Rope, Kate. “9 Myths and Facts about Boosting IVF Success.” www.parents.com. Web. 31 March 2014. < http://www.parents.com/getting-pregnant/infertility/treatments/in-vitro-fertilization-infertility-myths-facts/>