The Best Supplements to Support your IVF Journey
Infertility affects 1 in 6 Australia couples trying for a baby. For these couples, IVF can be a journey that many undertake to assist them navigate infertility and support these couples in becoming a family.
In Vitro Fertilisation or IVF helps couples to overcome a range of different fertility issues, giving them the best chance to grow a family. IVF initially occurs outside the womb, where specialists join the egg and sperm in a safe & protected environment which mimics that of the body to create an embryo (this is the "in vitro" part). The fertilised embryo is then transferred into the womb and then a pregnancy test & ultrasound a typically conducted 2 weeks later to confirm a pregnancy.
IVF by no means is an easy journey, it is both physically & mentally enduring for both partners. The mother, has to take medication to trigger a hormone called FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) to produce a number of eggs which can then be retrieved via day surgery to be fertilised by the sperm. Other common medication will often be prescribed depending on other underlying conditions such as PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) or hypothyroidism. It can be quite common for the mum to be on medication to stabilise blood sugar and regulate the thyroid hormones.
Typically, the more eggs that a retrieved during an IVF cycle will improve the success of the IVF cycle. Unfortunately, a pregnancy is not always granted at the end of an IVF cycle, with multiple cycles sometimes needed for a pregnancy to occur. Sometimes, eggs are unable to be retrieved, or the embryo isn't mature enough to be implanted.
There are a range of factors that influence the success of an IVF treatment. These can include:
* Age (typically, women over the age of 40 have lower IVF success rates)
* Weight (being overweight or underweight will decrease IVF success rates)
* The quality of the egg, sperm & embryo
* Uterine abnormalities/ fibroids/ PCOS/ endometriosis/ fallopian tube blockage
* History of previous pregnancy
* Thyroid disorders (under/over active or auto immune like hashimotos)
* Type 2 diabetes
* Abnormal periods leading to irregular cycles or absence of periods all together
* Diet (male & female)
* Alcohol, smoking & drug history (male & female)
* Nutrient deficiencies (male & female)
* Stress, anxiety, mood & mental health (male & female)
So.. what supplements can support your IVF journey?
It is important to work alongside an integrative health practitioner, like a clinical nutritionist or naturopath so they can help support you through your IVF journey. They will be able to assess your individual needs, look at your pathology and provide extra support to you surrounding diet, stress & lifestyle. However, these would be our go too supplements to help nourish your body prior to commencing IVF.
This is a MUST. A prenatal provides some of the essential nutrients to nourish you, your eggs & support a healthy pregnancy. We stock the Naturobest Prenatal which is best to start 3-6 months prior to your initial IVF cycle.
Zinc supports follicular health, regulates your reproductive hormones (particularly progesterone), and improves thyroid function. You can ask your GP to test your serum zinc levels prior to supplementing, however it would be beneficial to be taking zinc at least 3x per week to support your levels. Zinc is also KEY to sperm health, so you partner should most definitely be taking this.
Omega-3 is a great inflammatory and works to reduce stress, both physical and mental. It also improves blood flow to the ovaries and womb by boosting 'nitric oxide' with a healthy blood supply potentially improving implantation outcomes. Omega-3 can also help to support hormone and thyroid health and create a nourishing womb environment for embryo implantation.
N-ACETYL CYSTEINE (NAC)
This helps to form the powerful antioxidant glutathione which reduced inflammation and oxidative stress within the body. NAC is also incredibly beneficial in PCOS or for anyone struggling with a oestrogen dominance as it helps to clear excess oestrogen through the liver. Studies have also suggested improved IVF outcomes, however more research is still needed.
Myo-inositol is really a superhero- not only does it directly improve thyroid health, it can also reduce the level of antibodies present if you are struggling with hashimotos (an auto-immune thyroid disease which can impact fertility). Myo-inositol is also incredibly beneficial to regulate blood sugar levels which are directly impacted in PCOS. This is a must have supplement in any integrative fertility treatment.
Is a potent antioxidant which has been found to improve ovarian reserve, creates better embryo quality and improve IVF outcomes and pregnancy rates for couples undergoing IVF. CoQ10 may also support sperm quality and motility. CoQ10 is relatively inexpensive and is a great addition to your IVF supplement routine (for both mum and dad!)
If you are planning on going through IVF, currently going through IVF or wanting extra support in your fertility journey you can book in to see our wonderful practitioners online:
Meagan, Clinical Nutritionist: CLICK HERE
Vanessa, Naturopath: CLICK HERE
Michelle, Psychotherapist: CLICK HERE