At Olive we are dedicated to whole patient care. Fertility treatment can be physically and emotionally demanding, and we encourage you to care for yourself and get the support you need. We work closely with practitioners of various types of medicine to help provide a more whole-health approach to patient care. Complementary therapies such as mindfulness for fertility, acupuncture, and yoga have been shown to help reduce stress and improve treatment outcomes.
Many people chose to have acupuncture treatments leading up to IVF and at the time of an embryo transfer. Acupuncture has been shown to be beneficial in treating fertility in men and women as well as relieving stress. Acupuncture may:
Improve pregnancy rates during in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment cycle
Increase blood flow to the uterus, leading to improved endometrial lining
Reduce stress hormones
Balance hormones related to ovulation and improve ovulation rates for women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
Improve sleep and wellbeing
If you are struggling to conceive and feeling depressed, anxious, isolated, and out of control, you are not alone. It has been well documented that people with infertility experience high levels of stress. Studies have shown that a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR) for Fertility can help decrease your emotional distress and increase your resilience and sense of wellbeing.
Mindfulness for Fertility is an evidence based, experiential program following the famous MBSR curriculum developed by Jon Kabat-Zin, creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and Center for Mindfulness in Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Your diet can affect your fertility. Studies have shown that a low glycemic, whole foods, Mediterranean style diet is the most effective and healthy diet for balancing hormones, optimizing your fertility, and attaining and maintaining your ideal weight. It has been shown to be particularly beneficial for women who have high insulin levels and problems with ovulation like PCOS.
Research has found that women with body mass indexes (BMI) between 18 and 30 have the best chance of getting pregnant. If you have a BMI over or under this range, you may have more difficulty conceiving.
Being underweight or overweight can alter your body's hormonal balance and interfere with ovulation. A high BMI is also associated with insulin resistance, and studies have shown that it can lower the success rate of IVF.
Male fertility is also affected by weight, as being overweight lowers testosterone and sperm production.
Even a small decrease in your weight of 5-10% if your BMI is over 30 or gain if under 18 can improve your ability to ovulate.
Where diet and weight may be factors impacting your fertility, we may connect you with trusted providers in nutrition and weight management to support your care.
In addition, lifestyle changes can help optimize your fertility.
Smoking: Do not smoke cigarettes, as it has a negative effect on eggs and sperm. People who smoke have reduced fertility and a higher rate of miscarriage.
Recreational drugs: You should avoid any form of recreational drugs, as they may reduce your chance of pregnancy and affect the health of your baby. Anabolic steroids, marijuana, and some prescription medications may reduce sperm production.
Lubricants: Don’t use artificial lubricants, oils, petroleum jelly, or glycerine, as they interfere with the sperm function. We recommend the lubricant in Pre-Seed.
Excessive heat: Anything that heats up the testicles like hot baths, hot tubs or saunas, tight clothing, or even laptops on your lap should be avoided.
Supplements: We recommend that you take a multivitamin containing folic acid (0.4 to 1.0 mg daily). This B vitamin reduces the risk of some serious defects of the central nervous system in the fetus. You should start taking folic acid as soon as you start trying to get pregnant. We recommend cis-females undergoing IVF take coenzyme Q10 600mg, vitamin D 2000 iu and a prenatal multivitamin. Other supplements like inositol 4g, DHEA 75mg, and n-acetyl-cystine 1200mg can be helpful in certain people as well. People with sperm should take a multivitamin, coenzyme Q10 300mg and an omega/fish oil supplement. Selenium can improve sperm motility as well.
Make time for yourself and your partner. You are in this together. Remain connected with the friends and family who you know will support you during this difficult time.
Don’t believe everything you read! The internet is a valuable resource but much of the information is inaccurate, biased, or based on one person’s experience and is not relevant to your situation. A good source of accurate information about infertility and IVF can be found at: http://www.reproductivefacts.org
Olive Fertility Centre is associated with several experienced reproductive health counsellors throughout BC. Our off-site counsellors are all experienced in helping couples cope with fertility issues. They can help you learn strategies for dealing with stress, managing your IVF cycle, and nurturing your relationship with your partner.
When to Consider this Service
Any individual or couple struggling with infertility, going through treatment, or coping with a failed treatment might wish to consider a consultation with a counselor specialized in fertility issues.
An interactive discussion with your counsellor can help you cope with the multiple challenges of infertility. If you are in a relationship, both you and your partner are encouraged to seek counselling together. Treatment may be limited to a single session or multiple visits depending on your needs.
For additional support in this fertility wellness area, you may contact one of our affiliated providers directly to set-up your appointment.
Olive clinic experts have shared helpful insights on the Olive blog. Check out the following quick reads to learn more.
Inclusion of all gender and sexually diverse people is an important value of Olive Fertility Centre. We are continuously striving to create an environment of compassionate belonging where all of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community are supported, valued and respected.
Olive Fertility Centre resides on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Tsleil-waututh Nations (Vancouver and Surrey clinics), of the Lekwungen people (Victoria clinic), of the syilx/Okanagan people (Kelowna clinic) and of the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation (Blossom Fertility clinic in Prince George).
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