Frequently Asked Questions
That depends on what your individual circumstances are but generally I try to give you a good plan at the initial consultation that will carry you through until your IVF or while you are still trying naturally. Then we normally review a couple of weeks before your cycle starts, or after three months of trying naturally. If you are on a weight loss or gain programme then I do advise that we meet at least monthly, to keep you motivated and on track.
My partner has been told he has good sperm. Does he still need to come too?
I would normally advise that men do come just to go through the dos and don’ts really. Research into sperm has grown over the last few years, as male fertility declines and often with NHS sperm tests the morphology (shape and quality) of the sperm is not tested. The better quality the sperm is the more it can help compensate for poorer egg quality. Men really only need come for one appointment.
But we are having ICSI so does it still matter?
Yes absolutely. ICSI cannot determine if the DNA of that chosen sperm is good or not. Nutrition and lifestyle are critical for maintaining DNA integrity which is after all, what goes to make half your embryo/baby/child and the better the DNA the better the outcome.
If we have a good diet why do we need to take supplements?
Some particular nutrients have been shown to be especially good for fertility and they are difficult to obtain solely from the diet. Moreover there are several that can be depleted by the IVF medications themselves. For example vitamin D is important for both male and female fertility and in the winter we are depleted so supplementation is recommended. Also drugs like Heparin / Clexane and steroids deplete vitamin D and calcium. Research has shown that several key anti-oxidants are essential for male fertility like vitamin E & C, and folic acid as well as zinc and less common ones like pycnogenol (pine bark extract), and high doses of the amino acid L-Carnitine helps motility. These are impossible to obtain from the diet. Novel supplements like turmeric and resveratrol which I use for egg quality and anti-aging would be impossible to obtain enough of naturally, as would the recommended amount of good quality omega 3.
Do you earn commission from supplements you prescribe?
No. The suppliers with whom I have accounts allow me to pass on my full trade discount to my clients. Other websites you just buy the products as I would, without discount. So when I suggest supplements I do so entirely because I think they are right for you.
Do I need to change my diet or supplement regime when I start IVF?
Yes, I suggest that we always have a review whenever your circumstances change in whatever way. This may be an hour, 30 minutes or even a 15 minute catch up which costs £25. If I see you just before an IVF cycle I will indicate clearly on your Supplement Plan when you stop or start any supplements within a cycle.
Do you recommend tests?
Yes, sometimes. I only recommend blood tests and may suggest these if I think you may be deficient in something from your history or diet. Iron, zinc, omega three fats, vitamin D and folic acid are common deficiencies. I will also suggest thyroid and reproductive hormone testing if I think that is appropriate. However, I always suggest that you try your own GP first if you can before paying for tests.
Do you refer to other practitioners?
Yes, I am a great believer in referrals. I have worked in this area of 12 years and I have made relationships with many specialists, so if necessary can refer you to male fertility experts like urologists and andrologists as well as gynaecologists and obstetricians. I am also familiar with several IVF consultants and clinics so can help you decide which one may be right for you, without prejudice. I also work with several highly experienced complementary practitioners that I refer to, and vice versa. The people that I refer to are the best in their field. I would never trust my clients’ wellbeing with anything less.
Do I need to come and see you if I am pregnant?
Yes definitely. Those early weeks are important windows of growth and development for the foetus and your nutrient intake in early pregnancy is important. Moreover I can help you prepare for any pregnancy sickness, and make sure that you are supplementing with vitamins and minerals that may be depleted by the IVF and other drugs like steroids or Heparin that you may be on.
If you are emailing me about your supplements please tell me what you are taking as I am often away from your file. This will mean a faster response. If I don’t reply please just resend. For more in-depth queries or if your circumstances change you may need a review in person, or even a 15 minute phone call which costs £25. I can only answer queries by email related to our consultation, not any further developments or different issues.