Whether you’re male or female, pre-conception care can start way before you enter a fertility clinic. Here are the London Women’s Clinic’s seven steps to help give you the best chance of conceiving.
1. Keep track of your weight
Your weight and Body Mass Index not only impacts on health in general but also on fertility; being overweight or underweight may affect ovulation in women and sperm production in men, so working to achieve a healthy weight can be a good goal to set for the new year prior to starting to conceive.
2. Eat right
Eating a colourful diet is an easy way to ensure you’re consuming a wide variety of fruit and vegetables on a daily basis. We see that many less healthy foods and drinks often have bland colours, so a fruit infusion may replace the frothy coffee and a sliced mango may be substituted for a bar of chocolate – still tasty and healthier too.
3. Get your vitamins
Supplements of both Folic Acid and Vitamin D are recommended for all women as part of a pre-conception care plan, if you’re planning to conceive yourself or have a surrogate lined up then making sure that the right amount is taken is important not just for conception, but to promote a healthy pregnancy too.
The NHS currently recommend 10 micrograms of Vitamin D throughout pregnancy and if breastfeeding, and to keep taking the pills until the baby is weaned. 400 micrograms of Folic Acid is recommended from the time you start to try to conceive, until 12 weeks of pregnancy. If you take a multivitamin do make sure it doesn’t contain Vitamin A as this can be harmful.
4. Arm yourself with information
A Fertility MOT is available via the London Women’s Clinic’s Comprehensive Initial Consultations; a thorough assessment means you’re empowered with information about your fertility enabling you to make better informed decisions around your fertility plans.
5. Got sperm? Get it checked!
If you are hoping to become a father this year and hoping to conceive at a clinic, your sperm needs to be quarantined prior to treatment. A Comprehensive Initial Consultation includes a semen analysis; the analysis looks at fresh sperm to check everything looks OK.
If it does and you do decide to explore treatment, a further test known as ‘Freeze/Thaw’ helps to identify which treatment is recommended according to the quality and quantity of sperm after thawing.
One of our fertility specialists reviews your results with you along with your medical history; you also have a counselling appointment, which doesn’t need to be on the same day.
If you decide to have treatment you complete your mandatory screening tests and freeze sperm to quarantine for future use. Once you’ve found the right surrogate you will have access to donated eggs via the London Egg Bank and having sperm in the freezer means that when you’re ready to get started your semen will be ready to go too!
6. Got eggs? Get fertility clarity
If you are hoping to become a mother then a Female Fertility MOT, a Comprehensive Initial Consultation, includes an Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) blood test a week or more prior to your appointment, an internal ultrasound scan which is reviewed with you alongside your AMH results with the specialist that provides clarity around your fertility.
There is no obligation to have treatment having attended an MOT, but if you do, once you’ve had the mandatory screenings tests you’re ready to go, there are no waiting lists and sperm is readily available for you to select from the London Sperm Bank.
Your initial consultation also includes a counselling appointment and meeting with the nursing team. There is no obligation to have treatment, but if you decide to go ahead and everything looks good to go, as soon as mandatory screening tests are completed then you are able to start straight away, there are no waiting lists.
7. Stay calm if you can
Stress won’t impact on the outcome of fertility treatment but learning to manage stress well, before treatment begins can help to manage stress better individually and within personal and professional relationships.
Planning fertility treatment means that you’re embarking on a hopefully life-changing situation over which you’ve got no control: it’s appropriately stressful. That’s why each initial consultation includes an appointment with a member of the counselling team. Support is available before, during and following treatment with our Patient Coordinators too.
To find out more about your fertility and begin to plan your pathway to parenthood this year you can book a Comprehensive Initial Consultation at the London Women’s Clinic, find out more at www.londonwomensclinic.com.