Happy New Year! A New Year is a chance to be a new you, right? Or maybe you’re just thinking about your health. I’m here to tell you about what you can do for your fertility health.
What if your fertility and chances of IVF success could improve through a diet? One that’s actually easy to stick to.
I call it my, “Egg Whisperer D.I.E.T.” You can take the ingredients of this diet and apply them to whatever your situation may be.
The four parts of the D.I.E.T are:
D is for Diagnosis:
I always want to know what the fertility factors are for my patients. There may be something I can do to improve the situation so when we do IVF we have the highest chance for success. If you know why you need IVF in the first place, then you’re better prepared for the number of cycles you’ll need or have a better understanding of what the right protocol is for you.
How do I do this? Through the TUSHY method. It’s a simple way to remember fertility screening steps. Take this to your doctor. Discuss it with your OBGYN. Know the testing options available to you BEFORE you pursue any type of fertility treatment.
Diagnosis is imperative before treatment. It sounds like common sense, but you’d be surprised how often these diagnostic tests are overlooked or not exercised in the ways that they could be.
Get your Tubes checked, your Uterus, understand the quality of the Sperm involved in creating your baby, get your Hormones checked, and finally get a sense of a Your genetic profile through genetic testing.
Let’s break this down!
Fallopian tubes. This is important even if you’re doing IVF. Embryos can find their way into your tubes and you can get an ectopic pregnancy. You want to know if your tubes are blocked. This is something you want to know before you do a transfer.
if you have a condition called a hydrosalpinx (dilated fallopian tube), your chances of successful implantation are reduced. You can get a saline infusion sonogram done looking for tiny bubbles through the tubes or an x-ray test called the “HSG” that picks up dye in the tubes.
As long as there are people out there that have taken 12 cycles of Clomid and never had a single ultrasound, I will be shouting about the TUSHY method daily all year.
Ultrasound is so important because how would you know if you have a fibroid or cyst unless you had an ultrasound?
There is no camera on the end of your doctor’s fingers so a pelvic exam isn’t that helpful. Polyps, fibroids, or endometriosis — do you have any of them? Know this and get help before taking medication blindly.
Semen analysis is an easy test that’s relatively inexpensive at around $150. There are lots of ways to do it. You can get a kit shipped to your home. Or you can go to a clinic. Regardless of where you live in this country, there is a way to get the health of your sperm checked without even leaving your home. At Home Collection Kit
You’ve probably seen the website, eggwhisperer.com.
Through The Egg Whisperer Fertility Awareness Panel (a blood test taken at any Quest lab) you can get your FSH, AMH, and estradiol hormone levels checked around the third day of your cycle.
The FSH level rises over time and as it goes up we know the egg quality goes down. The value gives us a way to predict what’s going on with your egg quality, but remember that you are not a number.
The AMH levels decline over time. This hormone is secreted by cells that surround eggs so the higher the number, the more eggs a woman has left. What we don’t want to happen is for a woman to find out that she has run out of viable eggs before she is done growing her family.
Thyroid and prolactin are also important hormones to test. I do a preconception hormone panel on my patients that include things like blood count and blood type. I want to understand if you have thyroid problem before IVF.
Your Genetic Profile:
When you talk to your OBGYN or fertility doctor they may indicate it’s important to test for genetic diseases. This may come as surprise or you may think you don’t need to test for certain diseases if they none of your family members currently have them. However, just because you can’t see genetic disease in your current family does not mean it’s not a risk factor for your offspring.
For instance, you may be a carrier for cystic fibrosis and it has just not shown up in your family yet. That’s why checking for diseases in both the egg and sperm source is essential. It is important to know risk factors like this before IVF.
I like to note that genetic testing is becoming more affordable each year. When I first started recommending it for patients it was $1,000 and now it is around $300. There are also payment plans and aid available so that preconception genetic testing is available to everybody no matter what your income level is.
I is for IVF:
How would you know how to approach your IVF cycle without the diagnosis? The answer is — not well! You want to go into your IVF cycle with as many answers as possible. Ask your doctor questions. Ask me.
When it comes to designing an IVF protocol, it’s not one size fits all.
Often I have patients ask me questions like:
Do you always suggest birth control for everyone I work with? Do you do a day 3 or day 5 transfer? Do you do a frozen embryo transfer for everyone?
There is no “always” action taken with my patients. What you need is different and based on your personal fertility diagnosis.
That said, I do enjoy (and think it’s important) to use technology to give patients the highest chance at having a live birth, while also reducing the risk of miscarriage. However, that does not mean one person needs to tap into the same technology tools as the next person. What you need is individualized based on what you learn through the TUSHY method (your fertility diagnosis).
Regardless of who your doctor is, I encourage you to understand and ask what your IVF protocol is and why. It is your right to know. When it comes to fertility treatment the more you know, the better.
Empower yourself by being the keeper of information on your own fertility.
E is for Endometrial Receptivity:
Think of receptivity testing as designing the ultimate evite for your embryo party! You definitely want to know the best time for your embryo to show up and there are tests you can do to make sure of that.
I run my patients through a transfer rehearsal cycle during which they take medications one would take for an actual transfer but instead of doing a transfer, a gentle endometrial biopsy is performed removing a very small amount of cells for testing. The two tests I perform are the ERA and Receptivadx tests. I then can make necessary adjustments based on the results for the actual transfer.
T is for Transfer
After careful and considerate planning for your best IVF protocol, we can more confidently and calmly go into the transfer.
Be positive. Be calm. Be zen. I ask patients to consider acupuncture and learn about deep breathing and meditation practices before transfer. We want to schedule your transfer on a day when you can completely relax. I always hope for a positive outcome, but of course we prepare mentally for whatever the outcome may be. This means going into it with a clear mind, and an open heart. If it doesn’t work we need to be ready for that, and will do everything in our power to understand why and discuss what we can do next time.
My mantra is to ask more questions. The only dumb one is the one you didn’t ask. This is such an emotionally charged time for a lot of patients so make sure you have someone that will listen to you. Please find your fertility team and someone that will care for you. There are many fertility doctors that offer compassionate care like this. Find yours. If you have any questions I’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
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!