how to increase chances of ivf success fertility specialist halza digital health

Dr Marion Valkenburg Life Expert Center fertility specialistWe speak to Dr. Marion Valkenburg, from the Life Expert Center, on the IVF experience. This is the second of three interviews we had with her to convey an expert’s perspective of the IVF journey to help patients better understand what to expect.

Read our other interviews with Dr. Marion here:

In 2014, the CDC reported IVF success rates using non-donor eggs, per egg retrieval (not per cycle) as follows:

  • For women younger than 35, the percentage of live births per egg retrieval is 54.4%.
  • For women ages 35 to 37, the percentage of live births per egg retrieval is 42%.
  • For women ages 38 to 40, the percentage of live births per egg retrieval is 26.6%.
  • For women ages 41 to 42, the percentage of live births per egg retrieval is 13.3%.
  • For women ages 43 and up, the percentage of live births per egg retrieval is 3.9%.

We speak again with Dr. Marion Valkenburg, from the Life Expert Center, about how those undergoing IVF can try to increase their chances of success.

Are there certain things that patients do that negatively impact their success rate that they might not even know they are doing?

Things that affect fertility (not necessarily IVF success) include:

  • Use of recreational drugs such as marijuana or cocaine
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Smoking
  • Taking certain medicines (men: steroids)
  • Too much heat to the genital area, such as using a hot tub

What can patients do to increase their chances of success? Does the fertility clinic they go to make a big difference?

Take folic acid and eat healthily. If you are depressed, seek help by seeing a psychologist before starting IVF.

The issue with a lot of clinics is that they only have fertility specialists looking at the eggs and the embryos, with no gynecological training. Because we also look at the uterus, we have had a lot of success. I am convinced that this could be the new approach for the future.

What about any complementary resources like apps, etc.? Does changing their diet play a part?

Having an app that lets you answer a questionnaire in preparation would, of course, help. Things like what are the indications, what does it mean if one or two embryos are used, what is a frozen embryo, how do you transfer frozen embryos.

If you’re overweight, lose weight. If you’re underweight, that’s not good either. If your BMI is too low, gain a little weight healthily. If you have diabetes, you should work on fixing your sugar levels as this being too high is not good for a baby. If you don’t have sex, you should see a sexologist and try to solve the problem there first instead of diving right into IVF.

How many times can patients actually undergo IVF?

There is no limit.

How can patients best care for both their physical and mental health while undergoing IVF? How can patients and their partners ensure they are well supported?

Talking about, instead of avoiding, emotions surrounding certain events helps each partner be more aware of each other’s emotions. They are better equipped to discuss and support one another.

Identifying each other’s priorities is also important. It’s not always the case that each partner wants a child equally as much. It’s also important to be aware that personal experiences affect the attitudes and reactions of an individual. People who have experienced a difficult youth may want to abstain from parenthood, for example.

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Source: Very Well Family