Blog post written by Circle+Bloom.
If you’ve reached the point of discussing alternative options for pregnancy while trying to conceive, IVF treatments may be in the cards. This can either be a frustrating turn of events or an expected and exciting prospect for women looking to have a child. Either way, being mentally and physically prepared to face fertility treatments with optimism is extremely important when starting this new journey in life. Here are 5 ways to prepare for IVF treatments.
1. Get on a Health Kick
Part of preparing your body for in vitro fertilization is maintaining a healthy and balanced diet. This applies to both the men’s and women’s diets. Getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals, while optimizing your health will actually improve your body’s fertility. According to Infertility Aide, vitamins and minerals will ensure the egg and sperm are healthy and antioxidants will provide “essential fats which enable the proper production and function of reproductive hormones.”
It’s recommended that a diet of healthy fats, vegetables, protein, and other fertility superfoods start two to three months before beginning treatment. This will work to correct any hormone imbalances and guarantee your body is as strong as possible when the IVF process begins. In addition to maintaining a healthy body weight, you should limit caffeine intake (or cut it out altogether), quit smoking, and stop drinking alcohol.
2. Take Prenatal Vitamins
If you’re preparing your body for IVF treatments and attempting to get pregnant, your doctor should give you a list of vitamins and supplements to take in order to increase your chances of successful implantation. You should be taking a B-vitamin folic acid so your body can produce new healthy cells. Many foods are rich in folates, like beans, dark green leafy vegetables, whole grains, and seafood; still, most people don’t get enough of this vitamin through their diet, so a supplement is suggested. Vitamin D is another essential element in a healthy pregnancy and can be found in fish, dairy, eggs, orange juice, and more. These levels are typically low in women and can also be supplemented.
The RMA network also recommends docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), iron, and calcium for daily prenatal vitamins. For women over 35, they also recommend coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and DHEA to increase the production of eggs in the ovaries. Talking to your doctor to find out which prenatal vitamins you should be taking before and during the IVF process is the best way to maximize your treatment’s success.
3. Focus On Your Mental Health
Just as important as the physical aspect of health, your mental health plays a huge role in how you’re handling the IVF process. This is an extremely stressful and emotionally charged time for any woman, especially if you’ve experienced years of infertility. Be prepared for the medication’s side effects and more unknowns when it comes to the outcomes of each round.
Making time to prioritize your own well-being and self-care will make a world of difference during the ups and downs of IVF. Pampering yourself, trying some guided meditations, taking a yoga class, or signing up for acupuncture can be huge sources of stress relief. Talking to your friends, family, and spouse can be a great outlet, but often it’s beneficial to vent to a therapist about your struggles with fertility and emotions during the treatment process. A third-party professional like this is separate from the process and can help you manage any burdens.
4. Get Organized and Have Important Conversations
If this is a process you’re going through with a spouse, you’re going to want to discuss things such as finances, telling others the news, how many rounds of treatment you’ll attempt, and exploring alternative routes to parenthood. IVF is a relatively new process, as the first successful attempt occurred in 1978, so the logistics may be a new topic of conversation with some of your friends and family. Navigating this discussion and unsolicited advice from loved ones can be stressful or emotional, but recognizing their questions come from a place of love will relieve some of this pressure.
If the thought of this conversation is wholly overwhelming, an announcement on social media, through email, or even a phone call may be a better solution. Leaning on a spouse or parent and figuring out what you want to say ahead of time will help you remain strong and as a united front through unwanted comments or advice. Sticking to the facts and figures of IVF, and explaining why this solution is the best option for growing your future family will certainly help as well.
5. Prepare Finances
Each round of IVF will go differently for everyone, and you may want to try four or five rounds to have the best chance of pregnancy. Aside from the mental and physical toll this may take, it’s also going to be a costly financial decision. One typical IVF cycle can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000, with the average couple spending close to $20,000.
Before you panic, many states require that insurance companies offer financial coverage for IVF treatments if you’ve been medically diagnosed with infertility. If you aren’t insured or need additional support, there are grants and funds available to support the lofty out-of-pocket expenses. You can also tap into the funds you’ve built up through homeownership, and utilize an equity loan to support the cost of treatment. There are also lenders that partner with fertility clinics to offer specialized IVF loans or applications for online personal loans you can search for.
However you choose to tackle the expenses of your treatment, make sure you’re considering the cost of children in your calculations as well. Having twins is a common occurrence with IVF, so preparing and budgeting for more than one child is an important possibility to factor in.
Through all of these intense emotions and vigorous preparation, try to stay optimistic and positive. Remembering all that you’ve persevered through to get to this point will make the journey all the more rewarding. IVF is undoubtedly an intense process, but the unbridled joy that comes with pregnancy, motherhood, and a new child will make it all worth it in the end.