IVF Series Part 3: Overview of IVF Prep and Paperwork
Natalist’s Guide to IVF is an easy-to-understand, comprehensive explanation of IVF intended to demystify the process and empower you to take charge of your IVF journey. Chapter six of the book is titled Step by step: How IVF works. Today we’ll be giving you a sneak peek of the first out of seven steps Halle outlines in the book.
IVF prep and paperwork
After you decide to move forward with IVF, your clinical team will review your medications, key appointments, and your target egg retrieval date (keep in mind, the date can change based on how your ovaries are responding).
Your doctor may give you birth control pills to control your menstrual cycle in the weeks leading up to IVF. You’ve likely been off birth control for a while, so the irony of going back on birth control to make a baby can be confusing. If you don’t want to take birth control, talk with your doctors about the option of simply waiting for your period to begin.
Prepping your mind and body
Ideally you are in your best shape – physically and emotionally – before starting IVF and pregnancy. If you haven’t yet, now is the time to make lifestyle changes. One study  found that making small lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet, steering clear of toxic products and chemicals, quitting smoking, getting enough sleep, and implementing a moderate exercise regimen had a positive impact on IVF outcomes.
A healthy diet
Research has found that diets full of lean protein, vegetables, fruits, and important nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12 can lead to better fertility outcomes in both men and women .
Mental health and inner peace
I cannot stress enough how important it is to feel grounded and mentally prepared for IVF. Infertility may come with grief, and it’s so important to give yourself space and outlets to grieve. Grief will not disappear the moment you have a baby. I recommend working through any feelings of depression, grief, or anxiety so you feel really good about the process, regardless of what outcome lies ahead.
Getting enough zzz’s
Sleep can be more important for fertility than you might think. Disrupting your circadian rhythm can alter levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), and prolactin- all extremely important hormones involved in ovulation and conception.
Reducing exposure to environmental toxins
Environmental toxins have been shown to negatively impact fertility for both men and women and may make IVF less likely to succeed, so in the months preparing for IVF, you may want to keep this in mind . Some toxins can even be found in many household items such as canned goods, sports water bottles, baby pacifiers, and plastic food containers.
Exercise is always a good idea, right? The truth is, too much exercise may be detrimental to fertility, but the jury is still out on exactly how much is too much . Experts suggest sticking to a moderate exercise regimen, as overdoing it can lead to issues with ovulation and implantation . For men, vigorous exercise (especially cycling) can lead to overheating, which can damage sperm .
Moderate alcohol and caffeine intake
Alcohol and caffeine are both up in the air when it comes to being helpful or harmful for IVF. It is proven, however, that overindulging in either of these can be detrimental to fertility . Since there are mixed findings, do what is most comfortable for you and always ask your doctor what they suggest.
The prep stage is also when most of the administrative work will be done. Your clinic will have a number of forms for you to sign, including legal documents that specify what to do with eggs, sperm, and embryos in various situations.
Knowing your answer to these questions beforehand will help you avoid being caught off-guard during the process.
Halle Tecco, Natalist founder, has put together an e-book inspired by her own IVF journey with hopes of demystifying the process and empowering readers with the information they need to take charge of their IVF journey. Guide to IVF has been medically reviewed by Dr. Dana McQueen, an experienced OBGYN and reproductive endocrinologist.
Want to keep reading? You can read the complete breakdown of each of these factors by purchasing the full e-book here, which includes even more helpful checklists, charts, tips, and expert advice. A downloadable PDF will be emailed to you after purchase.
Preview more sections:
- Salih Joelsson L, Elenis E, Wanggren K, et al. Investigating the effect of lifestyle risk factors upon number of aspirated and mature oocytes in in vitro fertilization cycles: Interaction with antral follicle count. PLoS One. 2019;14(8):e0221015. Published 2019 Aug 16. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0221015
- Gaskins AJ, Chavarro JE. Diet and fertility: a review. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2018;218(4):379-389. doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2017.08.010
- Pizzorno J. Environmental Toxins and Infertility. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2018;17(2):8-11.
- Rossi BV, Abusief M, Missmer SA. Modifiable Risk Factors and Infertility: What are the Connections?. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2014;10(4):220-231. doi:10.1177/1559827614558020
- Zuvella, K. The Ultimate Guide to Preparing for IVF. Natalist. May 12, 2020. Accessed May, 2023. URL