The question of drinking before and during fertility treatment tends to bring out strong opinions. It also comes up a lot with our Ovally customers: “Can I have at least a little Spanish wine during treatment?”. For the purpose of this post, we are going to focus on alcohol consumption before and during fertility treatment until conception only, and leave out any research on pregnancy and alcohol. As usual, check with your doctor on their guidance regarding alcohol intake during any fertility treatment. We’re summarizing the findings of high-quality research studies for you, but your doctor may have access to relevant, yet to be published findings.
Doctors perform a series of tests and ask a number of questions as you prepare for and undergo the stimulation phase of egg/embryo freezing or IVF. These tests and questions help determine whether you’re a good candidate for the procedure, whether you’re able to proceed or have any risks, and what your outcomes may be. To make the process a bit more transparent, we’ve included some of these questions below (note that they’re neither comprehensive nor prescriptive). Keep in mind that every doctor will have their own protocols, and we recommend asking them about their process:
It’s always heartbreaking when an egg freezing or IVF cycle does not work, or the outcome isn’t as good as you’d hoped. Even though Ovally patients complete a battery of pre-treatment tests to make sure to the extent possible that they’re a good candidate for the procedure, these tests still cannot rule out some risks that a cycle might be unsuccessful or less successful, with either no or few mature eggs retrieved. Below are some examples of such situations that we’ve observed, backed up by scientific literature. These examples are not comprehensive, and we advise you to always ask your doctor for what risks might exist in your specific case.
Acupuncture is a Traditional Chinese Medicine technique that uses thin needles to stimulate specific points on the body to release blocked energy and jumpstart a healing process. In the context of fertility, acupuncture may help improve blood flow to the uterus and reduce stress and anxiety. It may also play a role in regulating certain hormones that play a role in fertility, including beta endorphins and insulin. However, data from randomized experiments are very limited, and scientific results on the effectiveness of acupuncture for fertility treatments are inconclusive.
The Human Fertilization & Embryology Authority (HFEA) in the UK has released a report testing various popular “add-on” fertility treatments from embryo glue to pre-implantation screening and endometrial scratching. These add-ons are fertility treatments that are typically offered at an additional cost. Six of the techniques the HFEA examined are still relatively new or have conflicting evidence. Another six techniques have been around for a while without evidence of their effectiveness. We’re hoping this evaluation of add-on treatments will be helpful for our Ovally customers, as well as anyone else undergoing fertility treatments.
We’ve put together a summary of the potential risks and downsides of egg freezing. It’s important to us that you make your decision considering all potential issues before you freeze your eggs with Ovally or elsewhere, and that you’re comfortable with the risks and your doctor’s ability to mitigate them prior to treatment. Here’s some food for thought to make an informed decision together with your doctor: