Successful IVF is a long hard process. Surviving three IVF treatments does not make me an expert. I have however learned many lessons that will be valuable for any courageous couples that are struggling with infertility. My wife and I went through two failed and one successful IVF treatment and we are now the proud parents of twins. Here are some tips that I wish I had known before we went through IVF. These tips are not a guarantee for successful IVF but they will hopefully increase your chances of a successful IVF procedure.

IVF can be expensive. Click Here to learn more about how to finance your treatment

Contents:

  1. The first step of successful IVF is getting checked out.
  2. For successful IVF you have to keep your options open.
  3. Go with your gut if you want to have successful IVF.
  4. Persistence is part of successful IVF.
  5. Successful IVF requires patience.
  6. Stop smoking and reduce alcohol consumption to increase the chances of successful IVF.
  7. What you eat can affect the chances of successful IVF.
  8. Staying positive will help you to achieve a successful IVF.
  9. Work HARDER on your relationship during your IVF treatments.
  10. Take time off before and after each treatment to help your chances of successful IVF
  11. People will not understand what you are going through.
  12. Through IVF you will learn a lot of valuable life lessons.
  13. IVF might be the hardest thing you ever do.
  14. Try everything that you can to improve your chances of successful IVF
  15. Be careful of people trying to take advantage of your situation.
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1.The first step of successful IVF is getting checked out.

You may have had an illness or infection:

Most infertile couples are not aware that they have some sort of ailment, allergy or genetic flaw that is affecting their fertility. This was the case for both my wife and I. We discovered that we were infertile after numerous check ups from several fertility specialists. I can’t stress enough the importance of going to many doctors and seeking out several second medical opinions on your fertility. You may be surprised to find out what is causing your infertility.

Go to fertility specialist

A man’s first step in finding out if is pistols are firing properly is to visit a urologist. Among other things, they are specialists in the male reproductive system and can assess any fertility issues that you may have. For women, the first visit should be to your gynaecologist. Then the couple should set up an appointment at a fertility clinic. I would recommend visiting more than one clinic to get an in-depth understanding of the fertility issues you are having. This whole process will be time-consuming but totally worth it in the end.

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Make sure you find the fertility clinic that is right for you.

2.For successful IVF you have to keep your options open

Visit as many clinics as possible.

The initial consultation is free and the more clinics you visit the more you will understand the whole IVF process. The more you know about the IVF treatment the greater your chances of success. Some clinics are amazing and some are shit.

Some fertility clinics are money hungry.

These fertility clinics prey on the weak at their neediest time. Profiting from reproduction is not a problem it is a service that people really need. Some clinics sneakily profit from adding extra medications or variations of the treatment that can end up costing a lot of money with no proven results.  I recently watched a very interesting BBC documentary and it was a real eye opener. Inside the UK’s Infertility Documentary.

Some Clinics are amazing.

They make you feel understood and really want you to have children as opposed to making as much money as possible. At the Westend fertility clinic in Berlin, the treatment was top notch and we are so grateful that due to their care our twins were born. It is hard to find a flaw in the service that they offered. Feeling so comfortable and trusting the doctor so much had a huge influence on our mindset and belief in a successful treatment. It’s hard to quantify how much of an influence this had on our successful IVF but it certainly made the whole process less stressful.They make you feel understood and really want you to have children as opposed to making as much money as possible. A

The Clinic that was successful for us

At the Westend fertility clinic in Berlin, the treatment was top notch. We are grateful that due to their care our twins were born. It is hard to find a flaw in the service that they offered. Feeling so comfortable and trusting the doctor so much had a huge influence on our mindset and belief in a successful treatment. It’s hard to quantify how much of an influence this had on our successful IVF but it certainly made the whole process less stressful.

Keep your options open and visit many fertility clinics.

Do not settle for the first one that you visit if it is not up to your standards. Check ratings online for both the doctors and the clinics. This could have a massive impact on your chances having a successful IVF treatment or not.

Further reading:

http://www.healthline.com/health/what-is-a-urologist#Urologist2

http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/guide/male-fertility-tests#1

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/men/male-infertility

http://www.resolve.org/

http://www.kinderwunsch-tage.de/

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If you want a family then keep your options open and make sure you find the right clinic

3.Go with your gut if you want to have successful IVF.

Going with our gut is the innate sixth sense that helps us in survival situations. This gut feeling can also help you to survive IVF and hopefully help you to have a successful IVF treatment. If you want to get through the harrowing IVF experience then you will need to trust both your doctor and your clinic. The first clinic that visited, gave both my wife and I a bad feeling. At this clinic, we had two failed IVF attempts. We did not go with our gut and our IVF was not successful.

The third clinic that we visited was amazing in every way from the care from the doctors and nurses to the technology used for the treatment. After meeting with our fertility doctor, we were both filled with hope and believed that this time we were going to have successful IVF treatment. It was in this clinic, the Westend fertility clinic, that our third and final IVF was successful. The result was twins. Max and Mathilda.

The third clinic that we visited was amazing in every way from the care from the doctors and nurses to the technology used for the treatment. After meeting with our fertility doctor, we were both filled with hope and believed that this time we were going to have successful IVF treatment. It was in this clinic, the Westend fertility clinic, that our third and final IVF was successful. The result was twins. Max and Mathilda.

Further Reading:

http://www.ihr.com/infertility/ivf/how-to-select-infertility-ivf-clinic.html

http://www.hfea.gov.uk/fertility-clinics.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-choosing-a-fertility-clinic

 

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Be persistent and don’t give up

4.Persistence is part of successful IVF

 

The IVF success rate is roughly 25%. You should be prepared for failure. One constructive piece of information that I received from our first clinic was this – the biggest barrier to successful IVF treatment is that couples give up after the second or third try. I completely understand anyone that gives up on IVF after the first or second try. It is probably the hardest thing that you will ever have to do and the whole process is emotionally draining. My advice is to be persistent and keep trying. With each IVF treatment, the doctors will tweak the procedure and the medication to suit your bodies individual needs. For some people, it will not work until the 6th try. My heart bleeds for these people. I do not know if my relationship would have survived another IVF cycle.

Further Reading:

http://www.advancedfertility.com/ivf-age.htm

http://attainfertility.com/article/ivf-success-factors

http://fertilitysuccessrates.com/

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5.Successful IVF requires patience

Be patient and you will be rewarded

Staying patient is key to successful IVF Treatment. In our world of instant gratification waiting for delayed gratification is very difficult. This is especially true for IVF treatment. The IVF procedure comes with a lot of emotional baggage and you usually have to deal with a lot of disappointment before you reach a successful outcome. We had to wait for two years. This doesn’t sound long but when your wife’s biological clock is ticking this time seems to drag.

After each failed treatment you should wait several months before you try again. The harsh physical effects of the drug treatments and the emotional stress of IVF take a long time to recover from. You have to be patient and willing to wait several years if you want to have a successful IVF treatment. It can take up to 6 attempts before the IVF treatment is a success. This could be 4 years of treatment.

Further Reading:

Insulate, Ignore, Protect, and Proceed: How I’ve Gotten Through IVF With My Sanity (Mostly) Intact

https://www.asrm.org/detail.aspx?id=1902

 

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Stop Smoking and drink less.

6.Stop smoking and reduce alcohol consumption to increase the chances of successful IVF.

 

If you are trying to conceive then you should not smoke or drink as they have both been proven to reduce fertility rates in both men and women. There is nothing good about smoking. Everyone knows that. If you want kids, stop smoking. Do you have kids? stop smoking. If you don’t have kids, stop smoking. STOP SMOKING. End of discussion.

As an Irish man, reducing alcohol consumption was one of the toughest things that I had to do. To fulfil my dreams of having children I knew I had to knock binge drinking on the head. This was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. It is proven that excessive alcohol consumption can have a negative impact on both the motility and morphology of sperm. These are both big factors in male infertility. If you are serious about having kids then you should stop smoking and greatly reduce alcohol consumption.

Further Reading:

http://www.reproductivefacts.org/uploadedFiles/ASRM_Content/Resources/Patient_Resources/Fact_Sheets_and_Info_Booklets/smoking.pdf

http://attainfertility.com/article/smoking-infertility

http://natural-fertility-info.com/effects-of-alcohol-on-fertility.html

https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/alcohol-facts/health-effects-of-alcohol/fertility-and-pregnancy/is-alcohol-harming-your-fertility/

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Try to eat as healthily as possible if you want to have successful IVF

7.What you eat can affect the chances of successful IVF.

The food that you put in your body has a huge impact on the quality of your sperm. Improving your diet can improve your sperm quality on two fronts. Firstly an improved diet coupled with exercise will help you to lose weight. Being overweight can have a major effect on fertility for both men and women. If you carrying a bit of extra junk in the trunk then a program of regular exercise and a better diet can have a positive effect on your next fertility test. The second major impact of nutrition on fertility is the effects of fertility boosting foods.  There are many foods that can help you to improve sperm and egg quality. Here is a list of foods that can help boost fertility in men:
  • Tomatoes
  • Walnuts
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Lentils
  • Blueberries
  • Water
  • Pomegranates
  • Dark Chocolate

Further Reading:

https://www.fitpregnancy.com/pregnancy/getting-pregnant/8-diet-changes-help-increase-your-fertility

http://natural-fertility-info.com/fertility-diet

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2017/01/19/10-best-fertility-superfoods-to-help-you-conceive_n_7331056.html

http://www.motherandbaby.co.uk/trying-for-a-baby/pregnancy-planning/help-to-get-pregnant/14-fertility-superfoods-worth-tucking-into-if-you-re-trying-to-conceive

http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/pregnancy/fertility-and-reproduction/fertility-foods

https://www.thebump.com/a/10-fertility-boosting-foods-to-help-you-get-pregnant

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Stay Positive and you will increase your chances of a successful IVF treatment.

8.Staying positive will help you to achieve a successful IVF.

Believe

So, you have got the worst news of your life, you have been told that you cannot have children. How are you going to stay positive? This is one of the most challenging things to overcome when going through IVF treatment. If you want to have a successful IVF treatment then you have to believe in the science and process of IVF. You also have to believe that you will be on of the IVF success stories. Negative thinking will cause you stress and reduce your chances.

Have the right mindset.

Your mindset during IVF treatment is a fine balancing act between hope and staying realistic. While remaining hopeful you have to understand that the chances of a successful IVF are only 25-35% and statistically it may take four attempts before you have successful IVF treatment.  A fertility doctor once said to me “the biggest barrier to successful  IVF is that couples give up after the second or third try”. What I learned from going through three IVF treatment is that with each try there is a lot of trial and error. Everybody reacts differently to the drugs and the IVF treatment. It can be the third or fourth try before they find the right combination that works for you.

Look after Yourself

To remain positive make sure that you are looking after yourself. Avoid stress, eat well and exercise regularly. I found that running, meditation and reading meant that I was in a good physical and mental condition. This helped me to be relaxed and positive when I was going through the stress of IVF treatment. Even after the first two failed IVF treatments, I kept saying to myself ” I have to stay positive, I know that it will work eventually”. It is hard, but you have to see the bigger picture and understand that what you are going through is the hardest thing that you will ever do. If you have a positive mindset then you can get through the difficulties of IVF and come out the other side a much stronger person.

Further Reading:

http://myivfblessings.com/how-do-i-stay-positive-when-im-always-negative/

http://www.twinmummyanddaddy.com/the-power-of-positive-thinking-on-ivf/

http://www.kidspot.com.au/birth/conception/ivf/everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-ivf

http://natural-fertility-info.com/ivf-affirmations.html

http://www.mommyish.com/2014/02/13/pros-of-ivf/

http://babyandbump.momtastic.com/assisted-conception/460060-thinking-positive-while-remaining-realistic-ivf.html

 

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Make your wife croissants and coffee in bed.

9.Work HARDER on your relationship during your IVF treatments.

Understand that you will fight.

When you are going through IVF, you will fight, a lot. Unfortunately, that is one of the many downsides that accompany the invasive IVF treatment. The pressure and expectation are enormous. This is made even more difficult by the fact that not many people will understand what you are going through. Make sure that you make time for your relationship and do things that you both love. Go for nice meals, take nice holidays and do little things that you know your partner loves. My wife’s favourite breakfast is coffee and croissants in bed. I would buy frozen croissants every week in the supermarket and make her favourite breakfast in bed every morning. Do little things that keep the fire burning and work extra hard on the relationship.

If you can handle IVF you can handle anything.

If your relationship can handle IVF then it can handle anything. After you get through it all, hopefully, the result will be a pregnancy and your relationship will be stronger as a result. We went through three IVF Treatments and the third one was a success. To be honest, I do not know how many more IVF treatments I could have gone through. It was very testing but making time for the relationship through the difficult times has brought us closer together. Three IVF treatment’s, premature and now healthy twins has definitely made our love even stronger. After this whole experience, we are closer than we have ever been even after 11 years.

Further Reading:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/life/i-stopped-ivf-to-save-my-marriage/

http://www.ivf.com/emotion.html

http://www.fertilityfriends.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=265278.0

http://ivf.eugin.co.uk/protect-relationship-treatment/

http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/parenting/pregnancy/conception/trying-to-conceive/9420601/How-to-IVF-proof-your-marriage

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Take time off. Relax before each IVF treatment to help your chances of a successful IVF treatment.

10. Take time off before and after each treatment to help your chances of successful IVF.

This is one of the fun parts of IVF. Nobody needs an excuse for a holiday but going through IVF is the best excuse to spoil yourself. We took many trips before each treatment to make sure that we were relaxed. It is important to go into each course of IVF with a clear head and with as much energy as possible. Our first two attempts were a failure. We both took time off after the failed IVF attempts to recharge and focus on the next try.

For our successful IVF treatment, we went on a nice holiday before the IVF process to recharge the batteries. After the eggs were planted we took a long weekend away to the lake district several hours North of Berlin. This relaxing time away may or may not have had a positive impact on our successful IVF treatment. That we will never know, but being close to nature and having a peaceful break cannot have harmed our chances.

Further discussion on pre-IVF holidays:

http://www.fertilityfriends.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=332383.0

https://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/infertility/1705545-Ivf-and-holidays

 

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11. People will not understand what you are going through.

 

This is tough, and it can be hard to comprehend how insensitive some people can be. Anyone that you explain your situation to will always tell you that it will be fine and you will have a successful IVF treatment. This is not very reassuring as people do not know what you are going through and their insensitivity can be unintentionally insulting. Try not to get too offended by the people that you discuss IVF with, they cannot be expected to understand what you are going through. These people are usually your closest friends and family. Although they mean well, their words can often come across as offensive and hurtful.

Further Reading:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/lauren-vaknine/ivf-parenting_b_14631108.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tracey-cleantis/infertility-16-things-you_b_1449350.html

https://creatingafamily.org/infertility-category/ten-stupid-people-parents-infertility-treatment/

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I learned to put my relationship first on the journey from infertility to successful IVF

12. Through IVF you will learn a lot of valuable life lessons

In life, you have to take the rough with the smooth and the journey is filled with ups and downs and twists and turns. Death, illness, loss, heartbreak are some of the hardest situations that you will deal with and the heartache of failed IVF is comparable with all of them and in some ways more difficult. Every time you go through a failed IVF, you will learn a lot about yourself. It is very hard at the time but you have to be grateful for these lessons you learn and understand that when it is all over you will be stronger, with a bit of luck, you will have a baby. The life lessons that I learned while going through IVF were:

  • Being healthier means being happier
  • Focusing on your relationship improves your life in other areas
  • A life of reduced stress is a happier life
  • A happy wife is a happy life
  • When you think something is bad. Compare it with failed IVF. It is usually not as bad

Further reading and discussions:

http://www.dcurbanmom.com/jforum/posts/list/35803.page

http://www.fertilethoughts.com/forums/tips-and-advice/438523-hard-learned-lessons-pass-after-2-ivfs.html

https://beyondtype1.org/first-cycle-what-i-never-imagined-about-ivf-treatment/

 

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Having a successful IVF treatment is very tough. Be prepared.

13. IVF might be the hardest thing you ever do.

Fuck me, IVF is hard. It is by far the most emotionally draining thing that I have ever done. After two failed and one successful IVF procedure, I can safely say that everything else in life seems easy compared to IVF treatment. If you are going through IVF treatment, then you should appreciate that you will not have to do many harder things in your life.

When you are going through another difficult situation in your life, take a step back and compare it to going through IVF and it will seem easy.You can use your IVF battle to prepare yourself for other difficult situations. For example, I had to give a speech at my younger brother’s wedding, in front of 200 people. Naturally, I was nervous before it but I had a little mantra in my head” This is easy compared to what I have been through”. Use the lessons learned from IVF to your advantage.

Further Reading:

7 Hard Truths About Trying to Conceive and IVF

http://www.healthtalk.org/peoples-experiences/pregnancy-children/infertility/difficult-parts-ivficsi-treatment

The IVF survival guide: 10 things you and your body need

https://mamadeux.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/top-10-crappy-things-they-dont-tell-you-about-ivf/

 

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After trying everything in our power, eventually, Olivia was pregnant. This was at the maternity hospital a few weeks before the birth

14. Try everything that you can to improve your chances of successful IVF

Read every blog, visit every clinic, talk to every expert and find our as much information as you can. I learned this the hard way and only really got a deep understanding of the IVF treatment on our third try. After two failed IVF treatments, it was time to get serious. We changed clinic, educated ourselves on all of the options, tried different fertility drugs, tried acupuncture, reduced stress, changed diet, lost weight and pretty much did everything perfectly to make sure that we had a successful IVF treatment. This approach worked for us and thankfully we are now an IVF success story. We are so lucky that our third attempt at the IVF procedure worked and we now have beautiful twins.

Further Reading:

http://www.parents.com/getting-pregnant/infertility/treatments/in-vitro-fertilization-infertility-myths-facts/

https://www.floliving.com/the-secret-to-improving-ivf-your-doctor-isnt-telling-you/

http://www.aculife.ie/ivf-tips-cork/

http://www.zitawest.com/ivf/boost-your-chances-of-success/

 

15.  Be careful of people trying to take advantage of your situation.

 

As I have already mentioned, we had two failed IVF treatments and this was a very bitter pill to swallow. The first clinic that we went to was so busy and it felt a like a conveyor belt for infertile couples. We felt like just another number for the clinic and they did not have the time to give us the attention that we required. Don’t fall into this trap. Be sure about your clinic and your doctor. I am not saying that the clinic took advantage of us but some do. Research the clinics, doctors and methods that they use. Some of them will add on extra unproven treatments or drugs to try and make a quick buck. I recently watched a documentary on BBC about it. It is well worth a watch:

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Sleepy snooze time for the twins

Conclusion

In conclusion, if you want to have successful IVF treatment then you will probably need to make some difficult changes in your life. After two failed and one successful IVF treatment, I have learned a lot. The tips in this post are not a guarantee of successful IVF treatment. This post was written to help people that are going through IVF and want to increase their chances of having a successful treatment. These are the things that helped me before my third and final successful IVF treatment. Hopefully, if you follow these tips you can be like me, an IVF success story.

If you have any questions then please feel free to contact me james@scantilydad.com. What challenges have you faced while going through IVF? I would love to hear your input below.

Further interesting reading:

How to beat the shit out of IVF!

Who the hell is Scantily Dad?

More Tips from Scantily Dad!

 

 

 

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