In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a multifaceted and complex process, with many factors that affect its outcome. When also considering its expenses, it quickly becomes apparent why hopeful mothers are so concerned with boosting their chances of success. And while there may not be any one defining factor to the equation, there are some ways in which patients can tip the scales more in their favor.
Even before treatment begins, women can benefit from learning about the IVF process and the steps they can take to scaffold its success. By meeting with Dr. Kristiansen at our Houston fertility center and reviewing helpful pre-treatment instructions, you can be well on your way to an extraordinarily rewarding experience.
The Initial Consultation
When you first come in for a consultation regarding your potential IVF treatment, the goal is two-fold: we want to answer all of your questions and help elucidate the process, while also assessing your initial candidacy. We will discuss what the IVF process entails and what you can expect from it, as well as the possibility of other fertility treatments. Through this discussion, you can also gain an idea of the treatment’s success rates in general and specifically in relation to you. Your medical history will be reviewed, and suggestions can be made for any lifestyle changes to increase efficacy. Assuming you still wish to undergo treatment, you will be scheduled for preliminary tests.
In order to more accurately determine your candidacy for IVF treatment, a number of tests will be carried out. These may include some or all of the following:
- Ultrasound: An ultrasound will likely be carried out in the middle of your menstrual cycle in order to examine the condition of your uterus, ovaries, and cervical canal. This test can identify any potential problems, such as ovarian cysts, fibroids, and polyps, which may interfere with IVF. The ultrasound can also be used to assess how various potential medications affect your ovaries.
- Blood test: A simple but very informative blood sample may be taken on the third day of your cycle. It will be used to analyze your blood type, the functioning of your pituitary gland and ovaries, and the presence of any diseases.
- Uterine imaging: After injecting fluid into the uterus, X-rays or ultrasound may be used to examine its health. The former constitutes a hysterosalpingogram, whereas the latter constitutes a sonogram.
In addition, both partners must be tested for infectious diseases, as mandated by law. This includes a blood test for hepatitis, HTLV-I, and HIV. The male will also need to provide a semen sample for analysis of its overall health and sperm count.
Increasing Your Chances of Success
Aside from working closely with our medical team, there are some guidelines that you can follow on your own to maximize your chances of a healthy, successful pregnancy from IVF:
- Stop taking all medications and supplements except those prescribed to you or approved by Dr. Kristiansen.
- Maintain a stable weight and a healthy, balanced diet.
- Do not consume more than two cups of coffee per day, or any caffeinated equivalent thereof.
- Abstain from alcohol and tobacco use.
- Avoid hot baths, hot tubs, and saunas.
- Abstain from intercourse as early as four days before egg retrieval.
- Consider nutritional education counseling by a licensed dietitian.
In regard to your holistic well-being, you may wish to also consider the emotional counseling services available at our clinic. Fertility treatment can be stressful, which can take a toll on one's physical health as well. By ensuring your peace of mind, you improve not only your general experience but possibly the specific results of treatment.
Have Accurate Expectations for Treatment
It is vital that women and their partners know exactly what to expect prior to undergoing IVF treatment. Schedule your first consultation at our office to meet with Dr. Kristiansen and learn how our fertility services may benefit you.