For many couples, preparing for IVF treatments can be extremely stressful. Others feel that most of their anxiety was already “spent” while they were trying to conceive for prolonged periods of time, and seeking solutions at fertility appointments. Both of these groups have something in common though – preparing for IVF practically and emotionally can help you feel good while you are undergoing IVF, and some steps can maximize your chances of conceiving.

If you are wondering how to get pregnant more quickly through IVF, the answer is more similar to conceiving naturally than you may think. Any couple trying to get pregnant should live a healthy lifestyle – a good diet, plenty of physical activity, and a sufficient amount of sleep. Start taking folic acid supplements before you start IVF. Avoiding substances that can harm your fertility and your baby once you are pregnant, like cigarettes and alcohol, is just as important for those having IVF. Many doctors also recommend that women avoid stress as much as possible during IVF, to increase the chances of getting pregnant.

A recent Israeli study showed that women who were entertained by medical clowns right after the IVF transfer procedure were significantly more likely to get pregnant than those who underwent the classical IVF procedure, sans-clown. But Dr Robert Hunter from Staten Island University Hospital, New York, did not come to the conclusion that less stress increases IVF success. His study of 217 women undergoing IVF was published last year. Surprisingly, those who reported the highest stress levels were more likely to get pregnant. But, let’s face it: Whether stress helps you get pregnant, or reduces your chances, there is not all that much you can do to decide whether you’re going to be stressed or “zen” during these important moments of your life.

Let’s not forget about the men! Doctors advise men who want to become fathers through IVF to pay close attention to their lifestyle and health, just like women. In addition, men should avoid overheating the scrotum and therefore stay away from hot baths, tight synthetic underwear, and having a laptop in their, well, lap. Men should not ejaculate for two days before sperm will be collected for IVF, but they should not have gone without ejaculating for longer than five days either. If you follow this advice, you have the best chances of producing an optimal sperm sample!

Finally, IVF will require time off work, perhaps at unexpected moments – especially during the monitoring phase. Retrieval day can be any of three or four days, and you will need to take that day off work, whichever it ends up being. And transfer day carries the same story. Then, there is the fact that women are expected to be physically inactive during the first two days after transfer. This, too, may mean you cannot go to work. IVF is something that can take its toll on the whole office, and your employer will need to be aware of the process. Women having IVF have two common problems at work, and they are an excess of unwanted “advice” from people who know nothing about fertility treatments, or a lack of understanding for all those days you need to take off. If you can prepare for this in advance, do.

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