As a fertility doctor, I help my patients create the family they want, or preserve their fertility for whatever the future may hold.
Part of why I love what I do is that I get to understand the whole person that I treat. Not just their body, but their emotional well-being too. We can’t look at humans with tunnel vision. Nor can we look at fertility that way either. The act of going through fertility treatment is as emotional as it is physical. If you’re going through it this is something you already know. You may be shaking your head and thinking, “duh — yes, Dr. Aimee, I know this. I live this.”
If that’s the case then the next 10 things you read may seem like common sense, but it’s worth me repeating them. When you are a fertility patient you need to take care of yourself. Sometimes you need some reminders on what that looks like.
Here are 10 things to STOP doing if you’re a fertility patient
Going to Baby Showers
Have you ever heard of a man forcing himself going to something he doesn’t want to? No! Please do something for yourself. It’s okay to say no to things you don’t want to do.
Everything in moderation. Some patients I tell to stop drinking altogether. It doesn’t hurt the eggs or sperm if you’re doing it in moderation. What I tell patients is if you’re super tired and you have even 4oz of wine it may make you tired and you’ll forget your fertility shot. Just skip the wine and take that fertility shot.
Exercise before and after egg retrieval
You have nothing to prove to me. It’s okay to take a break from exercising as I want your recovery to be as smooth as possible. If you’re pushing yourself too hard your physical recovery will not go as smooth as it could be. You may be dehydrated and your ovaries may get jostled a little. After your retrieval, your ovaries will be swollen. Give them time to come back to normal. When your period starts you’ll be ready to exercise again. Listen to your body. If you’re still feeling really bloated from the procedure please hold off from exercising.
Abstaining from sex
You’re hopped up on hormones. You may feel like a fertile potato. This means too that you may feel a bit more sexual and it’s okay to have sex. Please be intimate if you’d like to be and continue to have sex leading up to a retrieval day. We want strong swimmers that are prepared for the big day. Preparing means ejaculating every 3–4 days. It’s weird to get a prescription for ejaculation from a doctor. This may sound silly, but these things are scientifically valid. When it comes time for your egg retrieval and your doctor says to abstain 2–4 days it doesn’t mean to stop months before the retrieval. We want the sperm to give the eggs the best DNA for the healthiest embryo.
Telling the World
Stop announcing what you’re going through to the world. Tell your close family and friends. Many people have opinions that may not be helpful and become an emotional trigger for you. I highly recommend against Facebook posts about every little thing you're doing. If things don’t go the way you want, then you may have people asking questions when you’re not ready to talk about them. If you haven’t put the information out there it’s easier to not have to worry about pulling it back.
Using Lubricants that aren’t sperm friendly
Stop putting unfriendly lube around the sperm when you’re trying to conceive. I’ve done a live sperm show on Youtube where we exposed sperm to different lubricants. Be sure to use the friendly ones. Know what you’re using at home and to help make the sperm as strong as possible.
Stressing about stress!
What do you think the problem is? Many people share with me that they’re stressing too much, and stressing about the stress. There is a healthy amount of stress to have in your life. Too much is not good. If you’ve made it to the fertility doctor’s office then you’re not too stressed to get through the day. Build your fertility team. Practice mindfulness, yoga, and meditation. Stop stressing about stress! When you stress about traffic, does it improve the speed at which you arrive at your destination? No! Reach out to people that are close to you. Talk to friends. Give yourself peace of mind. Tell yourself you are doing everything you can because you are!
Cooking your Balls
Even just one exposure could affect your sperm for 2 months. Heat exposure to the testicles can interfere with the health of your sperm. Go easy on the heat, guys!
Stopping Coffee — you can keep drinking it!
There is no reason to stop coffee. It’s good for your mood, metabolism, and as a remedy for constipation. Constipation is real during fertility treatment. The reason why it’s sometimes better to hold off drinking coffee in pregnancy is that in pregnancy your heart rate is higher than what you normally experience. Coffee makes it beat faster and that can make you feel anxious and have a difficult time sleeping. It’s not unsafe or dangerous to your fertility. If you want, have a cup each day.
PMA: Positive Mental Attitude
I see fertility in every patient. I see your future as the parent you want to be. I want patients to be as positive as I am about their future. As a fertility patient, it's a very difficult process to go through. This I know. It’s also why I want you to think positive and don’t hesitate to reach out to someone that can help you develop this mindset and outlook.
You can also catch more of me and topics like this through the Egg Whisperer Show. The episodes are live-streamed on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter and on Wednesdays at 7 PM PST. Subscribe to the podcast too!