How to prepare for fertility treatment in the New Year

If you’re thinking about starting fertility treatment in 2019, there are lots of ways you can begin to prepare yourself now both physically and emotionally.

Here are a few helpful suggestions but don’t forget you can always contact us at any time for more in depth advice about any of our treatments or services:

Think about the type of treatment that you might need

The types of fertility treatment you might be considering will be determined by your personal circumstances – at RHG our patients include both couples and individuals – and whether or not you have undergone any tests or treatments previously. Different options available to you could include IVF, with or without the use of donor eggs or sperm, IVF with ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection), intrauterine insemination, egg or sperm freezing, surgical sperm retrieval or surrogacy.

Consider fertility assessments

If you’ve never previously had any checks on your fertility, RHG offer a full range of fertility tests for men, women and couples. Our male fertility assessments offer not just a standard semen analysis but also a sperm DNA fragmentation test, to look for any genetic abnormalities in the sperm, and a sperm aneuploidy test which assesses the ability of the sperm to fertilise an egg. Blood tests for chromosomal and genetic abnormalities are also included. Our female fertility check starts by looking at ovarian function and the couples check looks at male and female factors combined.

Get in shape physically

Lifestyle factors can influence fertility and whether you are aiming to conceive either naturally or via fertility treatment it is advisable to avoid either under or over exercising and to maintain a healthy weight, being neither over nor under weight for your height. Smoking, drinking and recreational drugs can have an adverse effect on fertility and the use of steroids can be harmful to male fertility. The advice of a specialist nutritionist can be helpful not just during the period of trying to conceive but during pregnancy as well to help optimise the chances of a healthy and successful outcome.

Get in shape mentally

There is no doubt that IVF or any kind of fertility treatment can be a gruelling experience emotionally but there are various complementary therapies available which can help to manage the stress. At RHG we work in conjunction with a team of holistic experts to offer a range of therapies to our patients. Acupuncture and reflexology are amongst the most popular that we offer access to but doing some background research on the different therapies before you start your treatment may help you decide if this is something you think may be helpful to you. In some cases a course of complementary treatment may start ahead of any clinical treatment so that you benefit from being more relaxed and less stressed when you begin. RHG patients also have access to support counselling through our specialist fertility counsellor.

Research fertility clinics

All HFEA-licensed clinics are required to include a ‘Success Rates’ page on their public websites, however these can often be somewhat confusing due to the amount of time that elapses between the the data being gathered and being released to the public. A perhaps more accurate picture of the clinic’s recent activities can be gained by reading up to date reviews by current and former patients. At RHG we also have a ‘Patients Stories’ section on our website which gives a good overview of what to expect from a patient’s perspective and these are all genuine testimonials from patients who have undergone treatment with us. It is also vital when considering treatment that you choose a clinic where you feel you can have complete confidence in the clinical team. At RHG our team are led by Clinical Director Professor Luciano Nardo and all are experts in their own fields.

Visit the clinic

It can be helpful when researching a fertility clinic to have the opportunity to visit the clinic to meet some of the staff in person and see the facilities. At RHG we offer a personal tour of our state of the art centre by our dedicated care coordinator and this is followed by a 15 minute meeting with Professor Nardo himself. It’s very easy to book a tour, just give us a call on 01925 202180 or book online here.

Ways To Support Your Pregnant Partner

Stress and pregnancy go hand in hand. While it has not been proven that stress can affect fertility, it has been found that the effects of stress on pregnancy can affect the health of the mother and the foetus during pregnancy.

Most mothers will confirm that the changes that happen to their bodies when pregnant for the first time, or even the second time, can be very disconcerting. So as the partner of someone expecting a baby, we thought you would want to know everything you can about pregnancy and what you can do to make things easier for her and the baby during the next 9 months.

We’ve written a brief pregnancy guide that will help point you in the right direction and help you support your pregnant partner.

What to expect while she’s expecting

Knowing that the first and final parts of the pregnancy are the most difficult will help you prepare yourself mentally, so you can respond in the most helpful ways possible.

The early weeks of pregnancy

You’ll have heard of the term morning sickness. But, the name is misleading, because morning sickness tends to last all day and involves vomiting and nausea prompted by certain tastes and smells.

During this period, your partner is likely to be low in energy and you’ll find that she needs much more sleep than usual. Morning sickness and low energy will usually last for up to 14 weeks, after which her energy levels will be closer to normal.

The later weeks of pregnancy

After 27 weeks and until she gives birth, her tiredness may return, and there’s a chance your partner could be, or become quite irritable.

Pregnancy guide for partners

Here’s what you can do to make her life easier and less stressful during the months of pregnancy.

Embrace the lifestyle changes

She’ll have to make numerous lifestyle changes to ensure she and the baby are as healthy as possible. Embracing these changes with her shows her that you fully support her. These changes include stopping smoking, stopping drinking and eating healthily.

Emotional support

Be available when she needs to talk or vent to somebody. Letting her share her experience with you will help her feel less isolated. Even when there is nothing that you can do to ease any of her aches and pains, having somebody to talk to can be very cathartic.

If there’s something that worries her about the health of the baby, take her to her doctor or midwife.

Do your research

Read as many baby and pregnancy books and blogs as you can. Two heads are always better than one, and when the big day comes, everything will be much less stressful if you know how to take over and let her rest after the birth.

Be there for check-ups, scans and classes

The parent who doesn’t carry the baby is sometimes left to feel like they are on the bench. But this can be avoided by being involved in absolutely everything. Tailored maternity packages can be great for giving you access to scans and tests whenever she needs reassurance, or in an emergency, and you’ll have more freedom over when they’re scheduled for. In some cases you can arrange home visits by private midwives, which takes away the stress of having to leave the house.

Help her relax

Run her a bath, give her a massage and reduce stress by not burdening her unnecessarily. If you see her trying to maintain her same levels of productivity despite her tiredness, let her know that you can take care of it.

Do things together

You’ll be squeezed for free time once the baby arrives, and this includes having time to yourselves. So, while you can, go on holiday, sleep late, and take spontaneous trips.

The Relationship Between Stress and Infertility

There is a relationship between stress and infertility, but it’s not what you think.

Women who are experiencing infertility report feelings of anxiety, depression, loss of control and isolation. Self-blame is also common, as are shame, guilt, and low self-esteem.

However, the relationship between stress and infertility has buried in it a common misconception – just because infertility causes stress doesn’t mean that stress causes infertility.

Can stress prevent you from getting pregnant?

Research testing the relationship between stress and infertility has found that infertility causes feelings of stress, but have failed to find conclusive evidence that stress causes infertility.

Researchers from The Ohio State University College of Medicine carried out a study examining the relationship between levels of stress hormones in saliva (cortisol and alpha-amylase) and chances of becoming pregnant.

The results, generally, told of a very slight relationship between the presence of alpha-amylase levels and chances of conception. They found that women with alpha-amylase levels in the top third were about a third less likely to fall pregnant compared to the women in the lowest third.

However, there were no differences between women in the middle third and the lowest third, and no significant associations between cortisol levels and likelihood of pregnancy.

So why is the idea that stress causes infertility so commonly found?

Psychology Today writes that self-blame and the stress-equals-infertility narrative is a way of letting a woman who blames herself feel like she can undo the problem. That she did it to herself by waiting too long, by having an abortion earlier in her life, for working too hard, or for worrying so much about being financially stable before having a child, that she’s worn her body out.

Professor Nardo believes that this kind of self-blame is unhealthy, especially when it’s been proven that worrying, or not worrying, is really very unlikely to change your chances of conceiving.

We do have a few suggestions for ways to help you cope with feelings of stress during the infertility journey, as although it might not necessarily help or hinder you from conceiving, looking after your own mental health is always key.

Coping with Infertility

Seek professional help

The internet can be quicksand with its contradictory messages and anecdotes and. As you’ll probably have experienced by now, the internet can amplify worries when it comes to health and wellbeing.

Without the right tests and checks by a fertility expert, you’ll drive yourself up the wall trying to work out what the problem is, and in the process, waste time worrying about your fertility while a real expert could have helped you find and fix the problem.

First visit your GP to see if there is anything obvious that is stopping you from conceiving. Chances are they will give you a referral for a fertility assessment and then to a dedicated clinic who will talk you through treatments such as IVF, ICSI, ovulation induction and IUI.

Consider your options

If you have not sat down and seriously considered the possibility that you might not be able to conceive naturally, we’d say you should do this sooner rather than later. Worrying about something you don’t have much control over without planning how to deal with it could negatively impact your mental health.

If you’ve spent a long time trying to conceive naturally, seeking help from a fertility clinic like Reproductive Health Group could provide you with an alternative route to pursue, rather than continuing in the hopes that lower stress levels might increase your chances.

Whichever stage you are at, you’ll feel less stressed if you know what your options are and where to go from there.

Ways To Manage Stress When Pregnant

It’s normal to feel stressed during pregnancy. There are so many things that can make us feel overwhelmed. Anything that puts high demands on a person can be considered a stressor, and pregnancy is no exception.

Constant feelings of stress and worry can colour the whole experience of pregnancy negatively, and if left unchecked, cause concerns for the baby and the mother’s health. If you are experiencing this kind of stress, we suggest you visit your GP as soon as possible.

The stress we are concerned with managing, is the kind that takes away from the joy of pregnancy. This is, after all, a time like no other, so why not make it worth remembering?

Stress can be used by our minds as a way of signalling when something in our lifestyle needs to change or that we’ve taken on too much, so it’s normal to be stressed while pregnant. The key is to take stock and manage it before it turns into an endless cycle of worry.

For these milder forms of stress and keeping a cycle of worry and negative thinking at bay, we have a few useful suggestions.

What causes stress during pregnancy?

Sometimes, there isn’t any one thing that causes stress during pregnancy. But most of the time stress and worries are related to very real things, often the same things that worry us when we’re not pregnant, such as a lack of time and money. Anyone who’s been through a pregnancy knows that a new born baby will stretch these resources even further.

The trick is to prepare as much as you can for the arrival of the baby by making changes and preparing where you can. Where you can’t change things, trying to change your thought processes to see things more positively, or at least see the silver lining in negatives, can help you to avoid negative spirals.

Sometimes all it takes is a change of scenery or a bit of self-care to be able to turn negative thoughts around. Small things like making time for ourselves or budgeting can alter our perception of a situation enough to turn it from a negative experience to something more positive.

How to relieve stress during pregnancy

Most of what we suggest here are relaxation techniques, punctuated by preparatory steps that will give you some peace of mind during pregnancy.

Take time out to focus on yourself and your baby

Your body will be making significant changes to accommodate your baby. Taking the time to recognise and accept this will help you process these changes, rather than letting them affect your mood subconsciously. Most people will refer to this as mindfulness practice, and countless pregnant women will vouch for it.

Other complimentary therapies and relaxation techniques such as massage and aromatherapy will also help your mind slow down enough for you to notice the things that are getting you bogged down.

Sleep when you’re tired

You’ll feel a significant drop in your energy levels during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. You’ll find yourself needing to sleep much more than usual. When you can, we recommend trying to sleep, and spending as much time doing so to help you maintain your energy levels.

Let others help

During pregnancy your body will need all the rest it can get. Fighting the need to go to sleep to keep the rest of your responsibilities ticking over is a stressor. However, one way to address this is by letting your partner take on more of your shared responsibilities and asking your family or friends for help.

Face any money worries

Make a list of everything you’ll need and prioritise them. Decide what you can afford to buy and consider your options for getting the things you can’t.

You might find that you won’t have the financial flexibility to buy everything brand new. But there will be lots of things you can get from friends and family, or buy second hand, like car seats, cribs and strollers.

Having a baby shower and making a list of things you need is another way of letting friends and family help you provide things like clothes, bottles, sterilisers and nappies. All of which are undoubtedly essential and can reduce stress caused by finances.

Prepare for birth and your baby’s early days

This is fun when doing it with your partner, your mum, sister or another expecting person. Meeting up regularly to discuss what you have learned about the stages of development of your baby will help you prepare mentally and get you excited about their arrival.

Do this by joining antenatal and postnatal care classes, reading everything you can, and speaking to your own mother, doctor, midwife and other expecting mums about what it’ll be like.

Gentle exercise

You’ve probably heard this one before, and for good reason. Exercise is a tried and trusted stress reliever and endorphin booster. We would recommend light exercise like pregnancy yoga and swimming if you are new to exercise. Swimming is a great light exercise to do whilst pregnant as it places very little strain on the joints.

Ask for advice

The internet can be full of worrying advice so if there’s something about your physical or mental health that bothers you or something you are uncertain about, speak to your doctor. Women who have had IVF or any other fertility treatments should speak to someone from their clinic. If there’s something specific that worries you, healthcare professionals will be able to do the tests or checks that will help settle any worries you might have.

Risks and Complications in Pregnancy over 40

More women in their 30s are having babies now than in their 20s, as a growing number of women are delaying motherhood as they pursue education and career goals or wait to find the right partner. Delaying motherhood until later in life, has become more common in part due to greater equality and more opportunities, and also the availability of contraception and Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART).

However, it’s also important to consider the challenges that can be present in a pregnancy over 40. The risks and complications can affect both mother and baby and include genetic risks, miscarriage, high blood pressure, pre-term delivery, caesarean section, maternal death and stillbirth.

Research shows that young people are not aware of the natural limits of female fertility and significantly overestimate the success rates of assisted reproductive technologies. Doctors from Imperial College and Chelsea & Westminster Hospital in London warn that most women are taking measures to preserve their fertility too late, when the ovarian reserve is already diminishing.

Although ART may shorten the time to pregnancy, enables assessment of eggs and embryos and improve the chances of fertility in women over 40, they should know that delaying motherhood comes with a series of risks and complications, writes the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG).

Risks of pregnancy after 40

Women experience a decline in fertility as they approach their fourth decade in life. A pregnancy after 40 comes with increased risk for the mother and can negatively impact her ability to carry a healthy baby to term. For example, on average a woman in her early 20s will have chromosomal abnormalities in about 17% of her eggs. But, this percentage jumps to nearly 80% by a woman’s early 40s.

These are the main risks of pregnancy after 40:

High blood pressure (hypertension)

Health problems that may have occurred later in life can be exacerbated by pregnancy because of weight gain and increased levels of the hormone progesterone. This can lead to high, or higher, levels of blood pressure.

Pre-eclampsia

Pre-eclampsia is a serious condition that complicates 3-7% of pregnancies in women over 40 and is the leading cause of maternal death in childbirth and possible miscarriages. It is said to be characterised by high blood pressure and may result in a fatal seizure.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes occurs only during pregnancy and can happen to an otherwise diabetes-free woman, brought on by changes in hormones which make your cells less responsive to insulin. The risk of developing this condition is heightened if a mother is over 35 and medically obese with a BMI of over 30 kg/m2.

Studies link severe gestational diabetes to the risk of stillbirths and developing pre-eclampsia.

Placenta Abruption

Placenta abruption is a serious condition which is seen to be more common in pregnancies in women over 40. Placenta abruption occurs when the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus before birth. It is seen in about 1 in 100 pregnant women and usually happens in the 3rd trimester but can start any time during pregnancy.

Multiple Births

The chances of having twins or even triplets increase as a woman ages, caused by the unpredictable ways in which a woman’s fertilised eggs may divide. Multiple births present serious health risks, including premature birth and a higher chance of miscarriage.

Miscarriage and Maternal Death

Due to the increased chances of chromosomal abnormalities in women after 40, the incidences of abnormal eggs are higher and so are the chances of miscarriage. Unfortunately, around 1 in 3 pregnancies after 40 result in a miscarriage, often within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Complications like those mentioned before – high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes and placenta abruption all add to the risk of maternal death during child birth.

Stillbirth or Preterm Baby

Advanced maternal age is associated with an increased risk of stillbirth. Women who are expecting a baby after 40 should be very closely monitored from their 36th week onwards.

Delivering a premature or small baby is another risk associated with advanced maternity.

Chromosomal Complications

With age, the quality of a woman’s eggs deteriorates affecting the way her eggs behave. The most common chromosomal abnormality is Down’s Syndrome.

The Office for National Statistics in the UK found that 1 in 200 babies born to women aged 40 or over have Down’s Syndrome, whereas babies born to mums aged 35-39 have a 1 in 700 chance of having Down’s Syndrome.

Approaching pregnancy over 40 with a good understanding of some of the risks and complications is the first step towards making an informed decision about your options and minimising the risks involved with both a natural pregnancy and pregnancy achieved through Assisted Reproductive Technologies.

For further information about fertility treatments, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our patient personalised, one to one care means that we are on hand to support you through every stage of the journey. Despite the risks and complications that can occur, our expertise means that we are best place to offer excellent support and provide well-informed advice. We’re here to help you throughout pregnancy and beyond.

Things To Consider When Freezing Eggs To Conceive After 40

Women are born with the entire supply of eggs – approximately 2 million. But, by the time they reach puberty, half of them are gone. By the age of 35 only 6% of eggs remain, and at age 40 less than 20% of  eggs are likely to be genetically normal.

Many people think that infertility treatment only involves procedures such as IVF, once infertility in a person has been established. But, there are also measures that can be taken when a person knows they want to have a child later in life but may not feel ready at that moment in time.

If you’re looking into egg freezing to preserve your eggs, you might want to consider the following information.

What is fertility preservation and how does it work?

Fertility preservation is a service provided by fertility clinics like RHG. The clinic can harvest eggs (or a sample of sperm), and preserve them in a frozen state in the laboratory for use later in life. The preserved gametes are then paired with other procedures such as IVF when the individual is ready to conceive.

Egg freezing is time sensitive

Eggs should be frozen when you are young but not too young. For the best chance of a successful live birth in the future, it is best to preserve your eggs before you are 35.

Although the highest live birth rates from previously frozen eggs are shown to come from women who undergo the procedure before they are thirty, in the UK eggs can currently only be stored for ten years. So, by freezing your eggs in your late 20s or early 30s, before your fertility starts to decline more rapidly, you’ll be more likely to make use of your preserved eggs.

How many eggs should you freeze?

Providing the eggs are good quality, the more eggs you freeze, the more likely you are to have a live birth in the future.

Research suggests that women should seek to freeze around 15 eggs to have a reasonable chance of a future pregnancy. This number also varies slightly with age. To have a 75% chance of having one live birth, a 34-year-old would need to freeze 10 eggs. A 37-year-old woman would need to freeze 20 eggs, and a woman aged 42 would need to freeze 61 eggs to have the same success. However, our consultants will be able to provide expert advice on an individual basis.

Freezing eggs can be costly, and it may not work

Deciding to freeze your eggs can be costly financially, physically and emotionally. Because the number of eggs produced during a single cycle of ovarian stimulation varies based on  age,  remaining ovarian reserve as well as response to the stimulation cycle, we might need you to embark on the procedure more than once. This can place a strain on a person financially, and physically.

For women who froze their eggs when they were 36 years of age, the live birth rate from egg freezing remains low. And older women are at a higher risk of complications during pregnancy and birth. Both scenarios can be emotionally challenging, but our experienced fertility and obstetrics teams at RHG are on hand every step of the way to offer the best patient care.

Not all fertility clinics are the same

It’s important to check the experience and success rate of the clinic. Success rates will give you a better understanding of your chances of carrying a healthy baby to term. The best way to know your own individual chances of success from a treatment at Reproductive Health Group is to meet with one of our experienced consultants. But, if you would like to learn about our processes as well as the  success rates according to the source of eggs and the female age, we publish verified and externally audited data. This ensures that the information is clear, transparent and trustworthy.

Fertility Treatment After 40

Low mood, stress and anxiety can have a counterproductive effect on fertility treatment.

Studies show that ‘stress, anxiety, and depression have significant effects on energy, mood, interests and self-esteem, all of which may contribute to decreased reproductive efficiency.’

If you’ve been trying to conceive for a while, you’ll be aware of the effect a negative pregnancy result can have on your mood, and vice versa.

So doing everything you can to maintain a healthy state of mind will benefit your overall wellbeing in the long run, improve your reproductive health and give your fertility treatment a better chance at helping you become pregnant.

Here are a few key things you can do to help create a mentally healthy approach to fertility treatment.

Be aware of the potential challenges

Knowing that female fertility begins declining at 30 and drops markedly at age 40, means you’ll be more aware of the various complications, outcomes and options available if your attempts at trying to conceive are unsuccessful.

Understanding that the success rate of these treatments can be low for women over 40 and recognising that results can vary from person to person, will help prepare you mentally for any potential complications or setbacks. Recognising this from the outset will help you maintain a healthy state of mind during IVF techniques, IUI or any of the other fertility treatments available.

However, despite the challenges associated with trying to conceive after 40, there are other challenges too, most notably – carrying a healthy baby to term. Unfortunately, the rate of miscarriage is and remains high during the entire pregnancy for women who are 40 and older. But, at Reproductive Health Group we are on hand to help you during every step on your fertility and pregnancy journey. We offer each patient personalised one to one care to support you through every stage. We’re not only here to help you have a baby, but we’re also here to support you throughout any challenges which may occur. This means that you can rest assured knowing that our team of experts will constantly provide support and the highest level of care.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle

Like with any mental health provision, knowing what you can do to help yourself is a big part of keeping a healthy state of mind.

Although there are no sure-fire preventative tips that will ensure you don’t suffer from depression, anxiety or stress during your fertility journey, the same best practice advice applies in fertility, as it would in any other context.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle during your fertility treatment is incredibly important for sustaining and improving your state of mind. Prioritise a good sleeping pattern, make sure that you’re getting at least minor physical exercise (preferably outdoors), and try to maintain a healthy and nutritious diet.

These tips are known to have a positive effect on mental health, so are definitely worth taking into account.

Acknowledge your feelings and emotions

If you’ve decided that you may need help getting pregnant, it’s likely that you may have experienced fertility-related challenges in the past.

Feelings of inadequacy, blame, disappointment, shame and a host of other emotions are not unheard of when a couple or individual fails to conceive. Making room to acknowledge these feelings, individually or within your couple makes you and your partner aware of your own and each other’s emotional state. This will allow you to come to terms with your emotions, support each other and move forwards.

Being available to speak to and support one another also avoids the possibility of distance between partners that can lead to feelings of isolation.

Knowing what to expect when you are trying to conceive is also incredibly important for helping you manage your expectations and protect your state of mind. Taking time out to mentally prepare yourself before and during your fertility journey will give your body a break and the treatments a chance to perform at their best.

Fertility age

Some of the most common queries we receive from potential patients are regarding how their age corresponds with their likelihood of pregnancy.

It is quite common knowledge that fertility levels decrease as you get older, however one thing that you may be wondering is if this decrease is different for men and women?

If this is a query that has been a cause for concern, then look no further. This post explains the differences between fertility decreases in gender, and infertility treatment options that may be available.

Female infertility

Women are born with all the eggs they’ll ever have in their lifetime. This is a key factor which explains why female fertility generally decreases with age.

The average woman starts with around 2,000,000 eggs, and this number will then decline with age. By the time a woman hits puberty egg reserves are already down to around 400,000.

At around age 30, fertility will begin to decline a little quicker for women. And after turning 35, there is a greater chance of miscarriages, infertility or complications during pregnancy.

Once a woman reaches the menopause, she will have around 1,000 eggs left. The majority of these are no longer fertile. The eggs then either deteriorate, are released during menstruation, or are re-absorbed back into the body.

Treatments that can help

If you’re simply not ready to start a family yet but know that once you are stable and ready you would like to, then freezing your eggs could be a great option. Especially if you are worried that your age may result in female infertility. The best time to freeze your eggs is before you turn 30. As the storage period lasts for up to 10 years they can be used at any time within this period.

Not only can egg freezing help those who want to start a family later in life, but the procedure can also be incredibly helpful for women with significant fertility problems such as premature ovarian failure.

Male infertility

It’s a common misconception that men remain fertile for their entire lives and do not lose fertility with age. Although they do remain fertile for longer than women, male infertility can also arise later in life.

Unlike women, men are not born with sperm, rather they produce it constantly. This means that a healthy and fertile male will produce sperm throughout his life.

However, despite the daily production of sperm, there are several other challenges which can cause male infertility. Generally, the sperm created tends to decline in quality and quantity as men get older. This can make conception more difficult. Men can also become infertile, even if they are still able to engage in intercourse and ejaculate.

Available treatments

As with women, fertility preservation is the best defence against age. Men can look into sperm freezing as a treatment to prolong the quality and quantity of their semen.

Like freezing eggs, the storage period for sperm freezing is up to 10 years, which means that you’re not under any pressure to use your sample quickly. There have been good success rates in pregnancy when using frozen sperm. However, success rates do decrease over time.

Hopefully this post has given you a little more guidance on how fertility levels differ between men and women with age. If you have anymore questions that need answering feel free to contact us and our friendly team will be more than happy to help.

Having a healthy baby by IVF

One of the most important things to think about when you are planning IVF is to take the opportunity to make sure your own health is as good as it can be. A healthy mum is the first step to improving success rates and having a healthy baby. Take the chance to ensure that your diet is healthy and that you are a healthy weight, aiming for a body mass index (BMI) in the normal range; less than 25 is normal. Also the fitter you are, the better your body will cope with the changes that are ahead. We know that women who are a healthy weight are much less likely than overweight women to suffer complications such as high blood pressure, diabetes and babies that are either too big or too small. Your body will also get back to normal more quickly after having a baby too. It is also important to make sure you are taking folic acid to reduce the risks of baby not developing normally. It is recommended that women planning to get pregnant take folic acid for at least 3 months before conceiving. It is also a good idea to take vitamin D, especially in the winter months, and make sure that vaccinations are up to date, especially Rubella vaccine found in the MMR injection. If you have had any significant medical problems in the past, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, it is vital that you meet with a doctor before conceiving to make sure that all issues and medicines can be discussed and planned for the pregnancy.

Once you are pregnant, it is likely that the first few weeks will be an anxious time. Many women benefit from the extra support that regular visits to a midwife or doctor that you know can bring. You should ensure that you continue to eat healthily and continue any medications or supplements that have been recommended. Many women find additional scans reassuring together with the opportunity to discuss concerns and answer questions. Although IVF can be a difficult time, many women go on to have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies and the opportunity to plan certainly can help achieve this.

Tips from our midwife for enjoying your IVF pregnancy

Every baby is precious, but those waiting for their IVF babies to arrive may feel like they are walking on egg shells.

They may have experienced multiple losses on their journey or this may be the first time they’ve been pregnant and everything is new.

Pregnancy is an amazing time to marvel at how wonderfully our bodies can change and adapt to carrying a baby. Hopefully it isn’t a time of stress and anxiety. However, it is normal for couples to not completely believe they are going to get a baby at the end of this until they are holding them in their arms.

Relaxation and bonding with your baby are important to help with your babies development and even to help you have a more straightforward pregnancy and birth.

You can help yourself by taking time out, making an appointment with your baby, to relax, bond and talk to your baby. Yoga and mindfulness are great tools to help you to relieve anxiety. Hypnobirth can make a huge difference to your pregnancy and birth if you are worried or stressed about your baby’s arrival.

Find care givers that you can trust and use your time with them to ask questions. Get to know them so that they can see when you need extra support.

Read books but don’t expect to find one that you agree with 100%. Take every experts advice and then do what’s right for you and your baby, even if it’s the complete opposite. No one knows you or your baby like you do.

Ask for help. Midwives have heard everything. You cannot shock us. If you dreamt you ate your baby and you’re freaking out tell us. We are here to help.

Enjoy it. It’s a amazing journey. We hope to help you make it stress free and magical.

At RHG we offer a range of private maternity services, from midwife support, to tailored maternity packages and consultant-led care. If you would like to talk to us about how we can support you through your pregnancy please contact us here.