Understanding Why IVF Cycles May Fail
Out of every 100 births, 1-2 are attributed to the success of IVF. IVF is an incredibly complex science that enables us to cleverly use drugs to manipulate the ovaries to develop multiple eggs, fertilize and develop these embryos outside of the womb then taking these fragile precious embryos and gently placing them back into the uterus where we hope that they thrive. I think this is such an unbelievable process and we are fortunate to have this as an option. With so much control you would think that having IVF should guarantee us a pregnancy, it’s not quite the case. Even with this amazing science helping many couples to conceive there are many factors that can contribute to an unsuccessful IVF cycle. Here’s some of the factors as well as how Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture can change those odds.
Poor quality of the female egg and the male sperm are what result in poor embryo quality. For Females, Age and ovarian reserve are the big factors that contribute to low quality eggs. Women are born with the total number of eggs that they can use in their lifetime. As women age (40 and above) the ovarian reserve naturally declines, leaving eggs that are more fragile unable to grow and replicate well, resulting in a higher frequency of genetic defects. For men, it is normally the quality of the sperm, its morphology (shape), and motility (ability to swim) that contribute to poor embryo quality. Factors that may harm sperm quality include: medication, recreational drugs, stress, environment and diet. Having poor quality in both or one of the partners may result in a poor quality embryo, decreasing its chances to progressing through a healthy pregnancy. In both of these cases, a diet high in antioxidants, vitamin supplementation such as Co-Q10 and wheat grass can help to improve quality of egg and sperm.
IVF may have gone really smoothly and visibly healthy embryos were transferred and now there is the 2 week wait. There are a slew of reasons why an embryo may not implant and thrive once transferred. It can include poor quality lining, stress impacting uterine blood flow or just simply that the embryo stopped growing maybe due to genetic or quality issues. Not all of these you can control, but you can influence your body to be more receptive and capable of carrying a pregnancy. Here are some tips to do 3 months prior to an IVF cycle to help improve your chances of conceiving and maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
Egg and Sperm: Improve quality with high antioxidants, this includes CoQ10, wheat grass, vitamin C and D and decrease stress. Chinese Herbal medicine can help correct nutritional deficiencies, capable of improving quality for both men and women.
Low Uterine Lining: Eat foods high in Iron (red meat, beans, deep greens), take Vitamin B complex, increase uterine blood flow with acupuncture or massage. Talk to your doctor about an iron supplement. Once again Chinese Herbal medicine is commonly used to improve your own blood supply ensuring that it has the nutrients it needs to support a healthy uterine lining.
Stress: Decrease your work/home stress by including some of these treatments or activities on a weekly basis. Again at least 3 months prior to entering an IVF cycle. Yogo, Qi Gong, Tai Qi, Massage and Acupuncture.
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Herbs can successfully improve egg and sperm quality concerns, decrease stress levels while improving blood flow into the uterus. For the best chances of a successful IVF please seek the advice of your local Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner. You are and have invested so much time, money and emotions into your fertility. Why not invest in your health so that you give yourself the best chances to conceiving successfully.