Bringing home a little bundle of joy is about the best thing parents can do. Everything about them is perfect, from the tiny toes to the tiny hands. Even though they’ll be doing nothing but screaming, pooping, and sleeping for the next few months, there’s not a lot you would change.
For some, having those moments can be a more difficult process. Conception is rarely a one and done type of thing. In fact, the average conception time takes months. But it can also vary on a number of factors from health, age, lifestyle, and more.
Some couples find themselves unable to conceive naturally and that’s OK. While it is definitely discouraging to see so many negative pregnancy tests cycle after cycle, there are other options out there.
These other options are grouped together with ART, or assisted reproductive technology. You’ve no doubt heard of some, like surrogacy, artificial insemination, and IVF. Others, like IUI, ISCI, GIFT, ZIFT, and donor embryos are options but maybe not as common.
IVF is one of the more popular treatments because of its relatively high success rate and high-tech use. Even though the procedure can be invasive and costly, it is still one of the better options out there for families.
If you and your partner have decided on IVF, below are some ways you can start preparing for your treatment.
Nothing is ever like it is in Hollywood, and neither is conception time. We’ve all seen those movies where two people sleep together and bam! She’s pregnant. Or where a woman decides to go for iVF treatment and two hours later, she’s in a doctor’s chair.
IVF is a months-long procedure that involves taking plenty of fertility drugs before the process can even start. The drugs must be taken before each cycle starts and only then can the egg be inserted.
While IVF does have a decently high success rate, that number tends to decline as women age. For women over 35, the success rate drops to around 25% compared to younger women, where it’s in the high 30s.
So, this is your first warning on the time. It’s a lengthy process, but could be well worth it!
Easier said than done, but maintaining a healthy lifestyle is vital for not just your overall life but also for IVF success. If you and your partner have been trying to conceive naturally, then you are already aware of the dietary and lifestyle trends necessary for a high conception chance.
If either of you are smoking or drinking, it’s time to cut back on both. A glass of red wine every now and then won’t hurt, but it’s time to cut the weekly Friday night happy hour out of the schedule.
When it comes to eating habits, make sure you’re eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. Target leafy greens like spinach and kale to ensure you’re getting enough fiber and folic acid. Folic acid is key as it helps lower the risk of birth effects.
Eat plenty of foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, like fish and avocados. Those fatty acids are going to strengthen the egg and provide overall health benefits as well.
When it comes to exercise, maintain your exercise routine or start one if you’ve been lacking. Make sure you’re getting up to one hour of cardio exercise per day, but don’t overdo it. Now is not the time to train for a marathon.
Take Your Vitamins
This is one step you will need to discuss with your doctor in depth, to see what kind of vitamins you should be taking and how often you should take them.
No doubt your doctor will already have you taking fertility drugs, but you should also ask about implementing prenatal vitamins. These vitamins directly affect the health and quality of your eggs and making your body more fertile overall.
The general rule is to start taking these vitamins anywhere from 3-6 months before you want to try and conceive.
Your doctor may also recommend other supplements or changes. Many women have an iron deficiency, and your doctor should check on that to make sure the rest of your mineral levels are up to par.