IVF Success: Is There A Way To Know Your Chances?

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Are you thinking of having an IVF (in-vitro fertilization) procedure? IVF or in-vitro fertilization can be the answer to couples trying so hard to conceive but have failed other methods. IVF is the procedure where the egg cell is fertilized by sperm outside the woman’s body, and it is considered the option for couples with issues such as advanced reproductive age, the presence of problems in the reproductive system (blocked fallopian tubes or endometriosis), or infertility[1].

Many people have plenty of misconceptions on IVF. You might think that IVF is just a method of putting an egg and sperm into a test tube. The fertilization actually takes place in a petri dish. The whole process of IVF is complicated and requires several visits to the clinic. Even those who have tried IVF cannot help but get confused with all the procedures and medical terms.

The success rate is the most pressing concern to every couple having IVF. You may not also know it, but a live birth is the goal and measure of success for IVF, not the resulting pregnancy. There are several steps or milestones to overcome before this can happen. You will have to work with your doctor to accomplish the needed steps for a successful outcome.

What is IVF Predictor Tool?

The IVF predictor tool is as its name implies. It predicts the chances of live birth with IVF. It was based on data from more than 144,000 IVF treatments. Also, it takes into account important medical information such as the woman’s age, how long she’s been trying to conceive, use of her own eggs or donor’s eggs, history of pregnancies or previous IVF treatments, and drugs used during the procedure.

With the use of IVF predictor tool, there is now a way patients can better visualize their chances of successful IVF outcomes. There is no need for couples to learn complex equations or medical terms to use it. IVF predictor tool can be found online (http://www.ivfpredict.com) and is available as a smartphone app so anyone who is looking or considering IVF can use it.

You may think that IVF Predictor Tool is baloney. Unlike horoscopes, the accuracy IVF Predictor Tool is high, and a study regarding its usefulness is published in the prestigious medical publication PLOS Medicine[2].

IVF is complicated and emotionally exhausting, and couples having it have to endure moments of doubt and emotional discomfort. Dr. Chen (IVF Specialist) and Dr. Kamal (Embryologist) finds IVF Predictor Tool useful in easing the stress couples face through accurate results that they can understand at the personal level. As results are based on patient’s medical history, both the health provider and the patient can use the tool to identify areas for improvement to improve the chance of success.

Can I improve odds of success in IVF?

Yes. You can still do certain actions to modify certain factors to improve odds of a live birth with IVF.

Do you know why acupuncture is popular in IVF clinics? There is some evidence that acupuncture may improve outcomes of IVF [3][4][5][6]. Acupuncture may be useful in improving odds of successful ovulation. Aside from possibly alleviating stress and improving blood flow in the reproductive structures, acupuncture may have some benefits on IVF procedures that used donor eggs. Ask your doctor if you can avail acupuncture as part of IVF procedure.

It is long known that Western diet (defined as high intake of fats, sugar, and sodium [7]) can be bad for fertility [8][9]. Therefore, you may improve odds of success in IVF by eating more fresh vegetables and fruits and reducing intake of processed food and fast food to control salt and sugar intake.

Although it is not yet clear if tobacco or cigarette smoke has negative effects on IVF outcomes, you should avoid them altogether. Tobacco is bad for male fertility and has negative effects on the functioning of ovaries [10][11].

We understand that IVF is stressful, but there is good evidence that controlling stress may improve outcomes [12][13][14]. Stress can adversely affect semen quality, which is important in IVF [15]. Some effective methods of dealing with stress include keeping a positive attitude, having a healthy lifestyle (adequate exercise and healthy diet), open communication with your health providers, and identifying close family or friends that will give you support.

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[1] In vitro fertilization (IVF). Medline Plus. Retrieved August 28, 2016. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007279.htm

[2] Predicting Live Birth, Preterm Delivery, and Low Birth Weight in Infants Born from In Vitro Fertilisation: A Prospective Study of 144,018 Treatment Cycles. PLOS Medicine. Published: January 4, 2011http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000386. Retrieved August 28, 2016. http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1000386

[3] Effects of acupuncture on pregnancy rates in women undergoing in vitro fertilization: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Fertil Steril. 2012 Mar;97(3):599-611. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2011.12.007. Epub 2012 Jan 11. Retrieved August 29, 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22243605

[4] Acupuncture and In Vitro Fertilization: A Retrospective Chart Review J Altern Complement Med. 2013 Jul; 19(7): 637–643.

doi: 10.1089/acm.2011.0888 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3700457/

[5] Acupuncture for infertility: is it an effective therapy? Chin J Integr Med. 2011 May;17(5):386-95. doi: 10.1007/s11655-011-0611-8. Epub 2011 May 25. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21611904

[6] The Role of Acupuncture in Assisted Reproductive Technology Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012; 2012: 543924.

Published online 2012 Jul 2. doi: 10.1155/2012/543924 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3395377/

[7] Fast food fever: reviewing the impacts of the Western diet on immunity. Nutr J. 2014; 13: 61.

Published online 2014 Jun 17. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-13-61. Retrieved August 28, 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4074336/

[8] Association of western diet & lifestyle with decreased fertility. Indian J Med Res. 2014 Nov; 140(Suppl 1): S78–S81. Retrieved August 29, 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4345758/

[9] The effect of cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption and fruit and vegetable consumption on IVF outcomes: a review and presentation of original data. Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology201513:134

DOI: 10.1186/s12958-015-0133-x. Retrieved August 29, 2016. https://rbej.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12958-015-0133-x

[10] [Effects of cigarette smoking on embryo implantation and placentation and analysis of factors interfering with cigarette smoke effects (Part II)]. Gynecol Obstet Fertil. 2011 Oct;39(10):567-74. doi: 10.1016/j.gyobfe.2011.07.023. Epub 2011 Sep 19. Retrieved August 28, 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21937253

[11] The Effects of Cigarette Smoking on Male Fertility. Postgrad Med. 2015 Apr; 127(3): 338–341.

Published online 2015 Feb 19. doi: 10.1080/00325481.2015.1015928. Retrieved August 29, 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4639396/

[12] A prospective study of stress among women undergoing in vitro fertilization or gamete intrafallopian transfer. Fertil Steril. 2001 Oct;76(4):675-87. Retrieved August 29, 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11591398

[13] Stress and Anxiety Scores in First and Repeat IVF Cycles: A Pilot Study. PLoS One. 2013; 8(5): e63743.

Published online 2013 May 23. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0063743. Retrieved August 29, 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3662783/

[14] Relationship between psychological stress and reproductive outcome in women undergoing in vitro fertilization treatment: psychological and neurohormonal assessment. J Assist Reprod Genet. 2013 Jan;30(1):35-41. doi: 10.1007/s10815-012-9904-x. Epub 2012 Dec 5. Retrieved August 29, 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23212833

[15] Negative effect of stress of in vitro fertilization program on quality of semen. Acta Eur Fertil. 1992 Jan-Feb;23(1):21-3. Retrieved August 29, 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1293895/

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