In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Adjunctive Naturopathic Care

Does Naturopathic Medicine help with Fertility?

Naturopathic medicine to help support infertility treatments in Ottawa, ON Canada are available to help maximize health and provide evidence based approaches to supporting positive treatment outcomes.

Treatments are designed to work in conjunction with fertility medications and procedures, so as not to reduce their effectiveness. Depending on the cause of the infertility, there are different approaches to helping support and prepare for the IVF during the prenatal phase, however, there are some well studied approaches to improving fertility outcomes during the actual IVF process.

First thing you should be checking is your serum Vitamin D levels. Low vitamin d levels have been shown in various studies to decrease the likelihood of success during IVF and also increases the risk of miscarriage during the first trimester of pregnancy as well. In fact, many fertility doctors are now checking vitamin D levels themselves and prescribing this for patients when the blood tests show a deficiency. Vitamin D also help to improve implantation rates with a transfer.

Secondly, fertility acupuncture, with specific protocols from the latest systematic reviews and meta-analyses show that success rates for IVF can go up by about 1/3. So, for example, if your estimated IVF success rate is about 40%, it should go up to about 53%, statistically speaking. The actual benefit varies from case-to-case, age, and cause of infertility. It is important to note that the newest protocols are yet to be used by most therapists. It is important to seek care with a trained professional dedicated to just fertility acupuncture to assure that they are staying current with the latest studies and protocols, as older protocols have been shown to be less effective. 

Finally, the use of micronutrients tailored to your specific condition and process are helpful in improving the success rates of IVF. A combination of specific nutrients at recommended doses based on current research may significantly improve the success rate of IVF. These nutrients are available for both males and females. They work by helping to improve egg quality and sperm quality by reducing damage to the DNA as a result of oxidative stress in the body.

Evidence-Based Approaches to Supporting Optimal Fertility Outcomes

 

To support improved outcomes, patients may come to seek support after an unsuccessful attempt with IVF, many unsuccessful attempts with in vitro fertilization, or to optimally prepare for their first IVF. In order to support patients and couples in this scenario all observed strategies from research are discussed and implemented to support fertility treatments. It is important to recognize all of the modifiable risk factors and changes you can make to support treatment, otherwise you may be going in to a treatment ill prepared. 

 

Some of the most important changes in preparing for an IVF start in your kitchen. Dietary changes have been shown to have a significant impact on success rates and fertility treatment outcomes. These are simple strategies which you can implement on your own time with the right guidance from Dr. H. Singh, ND. Simple changes to carbohydrate sources have been shown to support ovulation rates, insulin sensitivity, and potentially sensitivity to certain fertility medications. Making changes to your dairy sources has been suggested to support ovarian reserve and potentially improving conditions like Endometriosis. Limiting intake of specific foods and beverages have been shown to improve sperm health and suggested to improve successful outcomes with IVF. Protein sources may also impact ovulation rates, sperm health, success rate with IVF, and may alter severity of certain conditions, such as, endometriosis. 

 

Lifestyle changes including limiting use of recreational drugs and substances, under the guidance of a licensed healthcare provider, can also support treatment outcomes as some of these substances have extensively demonstrated a decline in fertility parameters and treatment success rates. These changes may seem difficult, but if done, can have a significant potential for improvement in success rates. 

There has been a significant amount of research done evaluating the effect of various micronutrients on fertility treatments, fertility parameters, and some studies evaluating for the impact on success rates with IVF. In particular, the research has focused on improving sperm parameters. Sperm cells are incredibly sensitive to their environment and are quickly affected when oxidative stress or toxins concentrate in the seminal fluid or along the path they travel. Increased inflammation and oxidative stress have been shown to decrease sperm motility, sperm concentration, reduce normal sperm morphology, and also increase sperm DNA fragmentation rates. Sperm DNA fragmentation rates when elevated have been shown to decrease the quality of embryos and significantly increase the risk of miscarriage once pregnant. The micronutrients, dietary, and lifestyle changes are studied methods to help reduce sperm DNA fragmentation rates and therefor support healthy fertility outcomes.

 

Micronutrients are also vital in supporting healthy hormone balance, supporting the quality of follicles/egg cells and supporting the health of the uterine lining. Reducing oxidative stress, reducing inflammation, and supporting the removal of toxins can benefit the health of the above mentioned tissues. Preparing for an IVF requires working on the improvement of sperm cell health and egg cell health. If sperm and egg cells are both healthy, the chances of producing healthier embryos are potentially improved. This is a very important factor, since healthier embryos are more likely to make it to day 5 blastocyst stage, which can be frozen for future frozen embryo transfers. Higher quality embryos may also have an increased chance of pregnancy.

 

The use of fertility acupuncture can also be greatly beneficial in preparing for an IVF and to help support healthy outcomes with IVF. The patients that have been shown to benefit the most with fertility acupuncture in IVF are patients who have a low baseline success rate (i.e. patients who have previously failed IVF or IUI cycles and/or have been trying for a longer amount of time to try and conceive). The latest research shows  an average of 1/3 increase in success rates. For example, if an estimated success rate for IVF is 40%, it may be increased to about 53% based on these results.

This information is presented for educational and informative purposes only. This is not a replacement or substitute for medical advice from your fertility doctor or physician. If you have any questions or concerns regarding fertility drugs, please follow-up with your fertility

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