Supplementing Fertility

When undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) to get pregnant, women want to do everything possible to achieve success. A healthy diet can help, but what about taking additional supplements? Certain vitamins and herbals are purported to boost fertility and may help improve IVF outcomes. But before adding these supplements, discuss with a fertility specialist or pharmacist.


Understanding IVF

Before starting IVF, the patient will meet with the fertility doctor to discuss the infertility diagnosis and planned treatment. Initial blood work and ultrasounds will be performed. At the start of the cycle, close monitoring begins as fertility medication is administered to increase egg production. Once mature, the eggs are retrieved from the ovaries and combined with a sperm sample in the lab. A fresh transfer can occur during the same cycle, inserting the embryo directly into the uterus, or the specimen can be frozen for future use. IVF is the most successful assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment available.

Healthy body, healthy pregnancy

Most women who proceed with IVF know that a healthy lifestyle is generally encouraged. When treatment starts, no smoking or drinking is advised. Certain medications may need to be stopped or switched out for a safer option. A prenatal vitamin with folic acid is usually recommended. Many doctors recommend a varied and healthy diet containing whole foods such as vegetables, healthy fats and lean protein. Sometimes, an additional supplement will be recommended to improve IVF outcomes. Here are 3 of the most popular fertility supplements on the market.

1. CoQ10

Multiple studies have shown that coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) can help improve both male and female fertility. When taken consistently, the antioxidant may support the health of the egg and sperm. This supplement is especially important for fertility patients who are of advanced maternal age (AMA) since natural levels of CoQ10 decrease with age.

2. Inositol

Made naturally by the body, inositol is a sugar that helps provide structure to the cells. Available in a few different forms, myo-inositol has the best success with improving fertility. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may be especially keen to add this supplement to a daily routine since the compound can help support ovulation.

3. Vitex

Also known as chasteberry, Vitex may improve female fertility by regulating prolactin levels. Women with a short luteal phase are especially prone to high prolactin levels and may benefit most from Vitex. With hormones balanced, fertility is improved.

Improving fertility naturally

Although IVF patients may be tempted to take as many fertility supplements as possible, a more thorough conversation with a doctor is warranted before beginning a new herbal routine. Some women may see improved fertility from CoQ10, inositol, or Vitex when the herb is taken consistently. Combined with the power of IVF, pregnancy is possible.

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