For many women wanting to get pregnant, IVF can seem like the fallback option if all else fails - an option that will bring that much wanted baby even when nothing else has worked. Perhaps this is because we hear of so many celebrities getting pregnant via IVF or read those attention-grabbing headlines about 60 year-olds with IVF triplets. It looks like IVF is a great plan B and bound to work. The reality, however, is very different.
For the majority of women who chose IVF the per cycle success rate is 20-35%. Several rounds of IVF treatment is not only expensive, it also takes a toll on your health with Clomid working much like the Pill in reverse (forcing instead of suppressing ovulation) and bringing with it myriad harsh short term and long term side effects. Plus, the more IVF cycles you go through, the less likely you are to become pregnant as a result of the hormonal bashing your body is being subjected to.
The unspoken secret to IVF success
While your doctor may be honest with you about those disappointing average success rates, what you are not likely to hear is that there is a way to dramatically boost your chances of getting pregnant from IVF.
Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health monitored the fat consumption of 147 women undergoing IVF treatment and discovered that those who ate the highest amounts of monounsaturated fat were 3.4 times more likely to have a child after IVF. They concluded that avocados contain the best kind of monounsaturated fat (and the least saturated fat, which was found to decrease the amount of “good eggs”).
Another study, this time with 4,000 Danish women, found that women who drink five or more cups of coffee a day actually halve their chance of getting pregnant via IVF.
What secret do these studies reveal? They show that what you consume has a direct impact on your fertility and your dietary choices affect your IVF outcomes. Knowledge is definitely power here!
I believe you need to take a highly proactive approach with your own fertility and conception journey. It’s not about overriding your doctor’s advice, it’s about complementing their guidance with your own set of fertility-friendly choices you can make at home every day. You can work as a team with your medical practitioners to ensure your IVF cycle has the optimal opportunity to bring you a baby.
So, I’m going to share with you my two-part strategy to increase your chance of getting pregnant with IVF. But, first, I want to share two stories with you about a woman who was told it was too late, but conceived naturally with FLO and the other about a woman who succeeded the first time in getting pregnant with IVF due to the FLO protocol. Once you hear their stories, I hope you’ll read on to learn my best strategies to increase your fertility.
Getting and Staying Pregnant with and without IVF
Although I have worked with women with the most discouraging fertility test results and helped them to reverse their prognosis, regain fertility, get pregnant and have a bouncing baby, all without IVF - just check out this Flo grad’s incredible story - I have also helped many women who have chosen IVF to be successful.
Tricia shares her story with us:
“A good friend gave me Alisa's book WomanCode when it first came out and, starting this January 2015, I decided to go all in with the Flo Living protocol. So I reached out for a FLO coach. My counselor has been incredible in answering all of my questions and really pinpointing the areas of the protocol that I should focus on. This past April, my husband and I did IVF for the first time and I'm now six weeks pregnant! We just heard the heartbeat, which was the most incredible experience. I know this was possible because of the FLO protocol and all of the changes I made in the three months from January through March. I know being on the protocol improved my egg quality. Now that I'm pregnant, I'm finding that all the nutritional advice I hear mirrors what I've learned through the protocol, so I feel great that it's already second nature to me.”
My two-part strategy for maximizing your chance of getting pregnant with IVF
I want to help you appreciate the ability you have to enhance your own fertility and improve your chances of success with IVF. It sounds like a lot of responsibility, but it’s also incredibly empowering.
NB: In previous posts I have already shared the best fertility-boosting foods for you to enjoy and my secret to getting pregnant that has nothing to do with your diet.
1.) Get nutritionally primed to optimize conception success
It’s best to start priming yourself for pregnancy six months to a year before you start the IVF process - that might sound like a long time planning, but, believe me, the better your body is prepped, the more likely it is to work first time!
By following the Flo Living protocol you will be optimizing your weekly hormonal ratios, but there are four additional ways you can hack your eating plan to maximize the potential for pregnancy.
- Reduce inflammation: Incorporate sprouted and fermented foods during your follicular phase to deliver as many bioavailable nutrients as possible to the ovary.
- Energize your eggs: Consume the majority of your fruits and vegetables raw during ovulation to up egg-boosting glutathione levels.
- Boost Progesterone: Eat liver-supporting sweet root vegetables, like sweet potatoes, and leafy greens from the brassica family, like kale, during the luteal phase to make sure you are eliminating estrogen efficiently and keeping an optimal ratio of estrogen and progesterone for pregnancy maintenance and to reduce the likelihood of miscarriage.
- Boost your mineral stores: Replenish your minerals during the menstrual phase by consuming sea vegetables, avocados, and/or some free-range animal protein to deeply nourish your endocrine system for the next cycle.
2) Use Your Whole Body Fertility Barometer
Your body has a myriad of ways it’s communicating with you about how fertile you are or how compromised your fertility might be. There are 3 systems that will tell you so much if you know what to look for. Those 3 systems are your cycle, your skin and bowels, and your vaginal microbiome. Check into each one to see what else you might need to do to boost your fertility.
- Observe your FLO: Observing the menstrual phase of your cycle is key to understanding how prepared your progesterone levels are to sustain a pregnancy through the critical first weeks. Look at the color, texture and number of days of your period. This is a fantastic way for you to assess each month how optimal your estrogen and progesterone levels are for conceiving and maintaining a pregnancy successfully. You can let your doctor know this information and they will support you in avoiding miscarriage. Click here to learn exactly how to interpret your period.
- Skin and Poop Check: Examine yourself for potential fertility obstacles beyond your cycle. I’m talking about healing your bowel movement health, which will improve your ability to absorb key nutrients like vitamin D3 and omega-3 fatty acids, which are both vital in stabilizing hormones.. Your skin health will show you how well your liver is doing and liver congestion will throw off the ideal hormone balance needed for baby-making. Inflammation is well-established as an obstacle to successful conception. If you have any symptoms of inflammation - from skin conditions, to IBS, to chronic illness and sleeplessness, you need to improve your internal ecosystem overall so that your ovaries get the green light for pregnancy. Read more about your gut microbiome here and of course make sure you are following the Flo Living protocol.
- TLC for your Vag: Chronic bacterial overgrowth and STDs are linked to decreased fertility rates. Address chronic BV (bacterial vaginosis), UTIs, and yeast infections by following my handy guide to natural remedies. Then get checked for common STDs like HPV and chlamydia that can create a less than optimal environment for an embryo. Both are highly treatable, so don’t fret if you find something.
Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this - the science of your body is on your side!
to your FLO,
Good things come in threes:
I want to hear from you!
First, are you going through IVF treatments?
Second, which part of the fertility boosting plan do you feel you need to add to your conception journey?
Third, so many women struggle silently with IVF – spread a little good ovary karma and share this article on social by clicking the buttons below 🙂
Are You Trying to Conceive?
If you want to do everything in your power to improve your chances of becoming a mom—then we want to help you optimize your fertility.
Whether you are just starting to think about having a baby, or have already tried naturally or have been trying with IVF, our Fertile FLO Program will help improve your chances of conception.
Click here to download my FREE guide, The 5 Health Foods to Avoid to Get and Stay Pregnant.