The following outlines our ‘general’ goals and recommended treatments, as well as further resources for women and couples going through IVF. For more information please take some time to visit the following resources:
- IVF support at Yinstill in Vancouver
- IVF and acupuncture research
- Acupuncture on embryo transfer day specifics
- On Site Embryo Transfer Day Acupuncture: the importance of treatment at the IVF clinic
- More ways to improve your chances of IVF success
- What happens after Embryo Transfer Day?
- You may also find great support in popular online forums such as IVF Connections or IVF.ca
The following recommendations are meant to be general in nature, meaning the specifics needs of each individual should be evaluated by a Doctore of TCM before implementation. A thorough medical history is necessary to determine the specific steps that should be taken to best optimize your chances of success with your upcoming IVF. This would include IVF protocols and expected dates so that realistic goals and plans are followed. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us for a free 15 minute phone consultation. Good luck!
10 STEP IVF PREPARATION PLAN
1. Set Goals
The first and most important step to achieving IVF success is to set clear health and wellness goals. The following are typical standard goals we set with clients in our clinic: regulate emotions, reduce stress response, and promote blood circulation through the reproductive organs to improve ovarian and uterine response to IVF medications, increase chances of conception, and help prevent miscarriage. There will be goals unique to yourself that should be set, goals that address your top 3 health complaints (does not have to be directly associated with your reproductive health). Set these today, right now. Deeply committing to doing what it takes to accomplish these goals will optimize overall health & aid in increasing your chances of IVF success. It is important to choose goals that are realistic with the time-frame you have between now and your IVF cycle.
Current research shows that acupuncture increases pregnancy rates and reduces stress.
- When appropriate (client needs and time permitting) one acupuncture treatment per week in the 3-6 months prior to an IVF cycle is optimal. This gives us time to utilize Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture to its full potential, making every effort to cultivate a healthy holistic environment for getting pregnant.
- In the 2-6 weeks immediately before embryo transfer (through medication phase) acupuncture is recommended twice per week.
- Two treatments on site at the IVF clinic immediately before and after embryo transfer.
- Following transfer, acupuncture treatments once per week until the end of the first trimester to ensure pregnancy is stable, nausea is managed, and your body is supported during the hormonal changes that are occurring
It is important to understand that the following list of supplements is not intended for everyone. Specific recommendations by a healthcare professional is important before starting any supplement program. All recommended supplements below are available for purchase at Yinstill Reproductive Wellness.
- Fish oil EPA – regulates inflammation, promotes circulation, and delivers required fats for the proper production of sex hormones
- Vitamin D – for general overall health and immune function, especially in our dark and rainy winters
- Homocysteine B6, folate, B12 – used to regulate homocysteine levels which may reduce the chances of miscarriage. Whole food supplement. (this will replace your folic acid supplement – if you do not want to do that then taking a B complex in conjunction with your folic acid is recommended)
- Prenatal Multivitamin – whole food supplement that contains a non-constipating form of Iron and due to it’s easy absorption is well tolerated by women experiencing nausea. Contains essential nutrients and folic acid to prepare for and maintain a healthy pregnancy.
- CoQ10 – preliminary studies show CoQ10 improving both egg and sperm quality, as well as being a powerful antioxidant
- Probiotics – A blend of natural, stable, human-strain probiotics to help replenish intestinal flora and promote overall digestive and immune health.
4. Things you can do at home
Click on the links below for more information.
- Anji Online fertility meditation downloads
- Circle+Bloom fertility meditation downloads
- Stress Free meditation downloads
- Castor oil packs are recommended daily from cycle day 3 until ovulation
- Incorporating hot foot baths before bed
- Pressure points for stress relief
- Get enough quality sleep, this may be the most important single thing you can do to increase your fertility potential.
- Recommended reading: The Infertility Cure by Randine Lewis
5. Chinese herbal medicine
if time permits, herbal medicine may be administered in conjunction with acupuncture to best prepare the body for IVF. (information about our herbal supplier).
6. Physical activity
reduce your intensity levels, aim for 70% of your maximum only. You want to always leave some energy that can be used for developing healthy eggs and nourishing a developing fetus. Consider implementing the following (unless you are currently undergoing IVF stimulation injections):
- 4x ½ hour brisk walks per week.
- Yoga 1-2x/wk. (yin style, hatha or prenatal)
- More time in nature, mindful light walks that do not strain you, but nurture your spirit
7. Other therapies
- clinical counselling (Holly Yager)
- integrative life coaching (Thomas Kevin Dolan)
- chiropractic (Dr. Janelle Bohemier)
8. Diet & Nutrition
This is an important area to focus on. A primarily whole food plant based high fiber, low glycemic, diet focusing on reducing portions if necessary is a good idea when optimizing fertility and maintaining hormonal balance. That said, what is right for one person may not be right for the next. Diet is something that needs to be deeply individualized, as each persons requirements for becoming ‘fertile’ can be very different. This needs to be investigated and navigated with your Doctor of Chinese medicine. The following are basic guidelines that could be recommended;
- Include cruciferous vegetables of the Brassica genus. These foods help the liver detoxify and restore hormonal balance.
- Eliminate foods that may be causing inflammation and candida. Start by eliminating sugar (especially white refined, glucose-fructose, or high fructose corn syrup).
- Emphasize: dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, collards), complex carbohydrates high in fiber such as non-starchy veggies, small servings of whole grains (with cold pressed extra virgin olive oil sprinkled on top), lean meats/poultry or seafood (crab, mussels, clams), and organ meats.
- Reduce or eliminate coffee and alcohol intake.
- Eat good fats – Good fats are in foods such as fish (salmon, sardines), avocado, nuts, seeds, and olive oil.
- Local organic foods should always be a focus.
- High fiber intake aids the body in eliminating excess hormones and helps manage blood sugar levels.
- Ensure the following ‘Dirty Bakers Dozen’ foods are always organic; celery, nectarines, apples, grapes, strawberries, peaches, bell peppers, spinach, cherries, pears, lettuce, potatoes, and ALL animal products.
- Chew food sufficiently, relax when you are eating
- Drink enough water
- Avoid processed foods (shop on the perimeter of your grocery store).
toxins in your environment that are known to disrupt hormonal balance which are major contributors to conditions such as infertility. Basically; avoid or completely eliminate the use of;
- Non-organic animal products (meats, eggs, dairy)
- Excessive consumption (especially non-organic): flaxseed, soy, whole grains, sunflower seeds, fruits, legumes, alfalfa sprouts, pomegranate, fennel, hops (beer), coffee.
- Water that has been stored in a plastic container
- Cleaning agents that contain scent (laundry, body, hair, dish, household)
- Dryer sheets and fabric softeners
- Cosmetic lines that are not completely transparent about their ingredients
- Microwaving food, especially in plastic containers
- Domestic and agricultural pesticides
- Phthalates (used to soften plastic)
dedicate time in nature, her healing effects are unmatched, bring more joy into your life, and commit to including time to do things that nourish your spiritual side, this cannot be understated. Spend time with friends that you feel good around, try to avoid the ones that are draining at this time, this is a time when you can benefit from all the love and support you are entitled to. Practice feeling at ease and in the moment, take the opportunity to do this every day at least once. The more you do it the easier it will be and the more rewarding.