I’m about to start my 4th egg retrieval cycle, and my 2nd full round of IVF. I’ve put together some tips I’ve learned along the way, especially for those of you who are starting this journey solo! Good luck!
3 months before: Start your supplement regimen
It takes 3 months for any supplements to truly work on your egg quality. It can be hard to wait that long when time is of the essence, so if you are even considering egg freezing, start popping those pills (with your doctors approval). After reading It Starts with the Egg and various other websites, I take the following supplements daily to prepare for my cycle:
Prenatal – contains many of the substances that can enhance and protect your eggs during maturation
Coq-10 with ubiquinol – powerful antioxidant that improves egg quality and quantity has been shown to increase fertility, particularly for women over 40. It also gives you a higher chance of producing healthy embryos and can even increase AFC and the ovaries’ response to medication during an IVF cycle!
DHEA – can help improve pregnancy rates for women with a low ovarian reserve. Noted results include higher follicle counts and more eggs retrieved.
Vitamin D – has been shown to increase live birth rates as it positively impacts the lining of the uterus.
Fish Oil – has been shown to improve female fertility by increasing egg quality.
Mediterranean diet 85% of the time
Start incorporating fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, whole grains, yogurt, and healthy fats as much as you can. Research has shown that a Mediterranean diet gives you significantly better egg quality.
Once you start your shots, continue your supplements and diet.
Hydrate – start making sure you drink at least 64 ounces of water a day. Water helps stimulate circulation to your ovaries and improves egg health.
Sugar and caffeine – Limit sugar and caffeine as much as you can, I try to stick to one cup of coffee a day, but sometimes those early clinic visits have me stopping at Dunks for a 2nd cup.
Journal – Writing is part of my therapeutic process, and journaling through your feelings as you do this alone really helps. And, if you are like me and end up doing multiple cycles, I always like to go back and read where I was at in the past.
Exercise – Stay away from any intense workouts. That means heavy lifting and anything that includes twisting. Be gentle on your body with walks or yoga. Try to aim for 30 minutes a day to keep the blood pumping to those ovaries.
Alcohol – My clinic has always said alcohol in moderation is fine, but the few times I’ve had a few cocktails during my cycles, I always feel guilty that it is somehow jeopardizing my work, so this time I will abstain from it completely to hope for my best results!
Shots – They really aren’t that bad, I promise! You can use an ice pack to numb the area if you are really nervous. Watch videos for how to prep and administer shots if you are a visual learner like me. I just like to grab a little pinch of fat and slowly insert the needle, then let go of the fat to inject. Some of them will burn, but it’s temporary. I find this method really helps prevent bruising as well.
Retrieval day is my favorite day of the cycle. (Is it weird to have a favorite day?) There’s no more injections, you get to take a nice little nap, and find out the results of the past two weeks. The clinic is usually chilly so I recommend wearing fuzzy socks and a comfy bra (since these are the only clothes items you’ll be allowed to wear under your gown). For when you get home, a small heating pad for any lingering cramps and comfort food usually do the trick for my day of recovery!
No matter where you are in your journey, whether it’s your first round of egg freezing or your 5th round of IVF, remember to be kind to yourself. Your body is doing something incredible with the help of science, and if you are tackling this all alone, well then you are a rockstar.
Nicole from Once Upon a Bebe