What do you need to know before embarking on your IVF journey?

Veatriki Tsatsouli
Managing Director & Head of the International Patient Department, Assisting Nature – Human Reproduction & Genetics

IVF process, Lifestyle and Fertility

From this video you will find out:
  • What steps do you need to take before your IVF treatment?
  • How to deal with other people while starting or going through IVF treatment?
  • How to deal with stress during the treatment?
  • Why is it important to get your health in check beforehand?
  • Is exercising essential?
  • What to do when the treatment starts?

What do you need to know before embarking on your IVF journey?

During this webinar, Veatriki Tsatsouli, Managing Director & Head of the International Patient Department, talked about all aspects you need to think about before embarking on your IVF journey.

Understanding the Emotional Struggles

Veatriki Tsatsouli began by acknowledging the emotional toll that accompanies fertility treatments. She emphasised the strenuous efforts couples invest in their quest to conceive. She acknowledged the fears and anxieties that often arise due to uncertainties surrounding the procedures and potential risks. Stressing the role of knowledge in alleviating these concerns, she encouraged patients to actively seek information, never hesitating to ask questions of their fertility specialists and treatment coordinators.

 The more you know and understand the process, the less stress you have and the more confident you feel about your treatment journey.

Veatriki cautioned against relying solely on internet sources, as they can sometimes lead to heightened stress and anxiety. She advised to choose reliable sources and focus on understanding the treatment steps and processes rather than getting bogged down by personal opinions.

Age and Fertility

Addressing the impact of age on fertility treatments, Veatriki emphasized that delaying treatment can negatively affect success rates. With statistical evidence in hand, she highlighted the decline in fertility after the age of 30 and the gradual decrease in the chances of pregnancy as women approach their 40s. Stressing the importance of seizing the right moment, she encouraged her listeners not to wait for the “perfect” time, as age can become a significant obstacle.

The Patience Factor

Acknowledging the necessity of patience throughout the fertility journey, she recognized that while hearing “be patient” might be frustrating, it is crucial. She acknowledged that fertility treatments are a step-by-step process that may take time, urging patients to mentally prepare for the duration it might require.

Building a Support System

Veatrikit then discussed the importance of choosing the right support system. She acknowledged the complexities of sharing fertility struggles with friends and family, suggesting that individuals identify someone who can truly stand by them. She acknowledged that some people might inadvertently add stress, making it crucial to avoid such situations to maintain emotional well-being. Recognizing the emotional stress associated with fertility treatments, Veatriki advocated seeking psychological support. She emphasized that mental health is a cornerstone of successful outcomes and encouraged individuals to consider therapy or counseling to cope effectively with the challenges.

Collaboration with Specialists

Tsatsouli emphasized the importance of following doctors’ advice and trusting their decisions. She highlighted how every treatment plan is customized based on various factors, including age, medical history, and hormonal profile. Emphasizing the need to avoid straying from prescribed protocols, she underlined how deviations can negatively impact treatment outcomes.

It’s also crucial to remember that failures are a part of the process, and maintaining a positive mindset to manage unforeseen circumstances is essential. Although emotional fluctuations and minor physical discomfort might occur, they are manageable.

Stay positive, stay confident, and remember that success is influenced by various factors.

Concluding her presentation, Veatriki encouraged maintaining a balance between positivity and realism. She acknowledged the higher success rates for women under 35 but highlighted the importance of considering individual factors, such as age, weight, and lifestyle. She reminded her audience that while challenges are present, with the right mindset and support, they can navigate the fertility journey successfully.

- Questions and Answers

Do you recommend seeing a dietitian? I have received different nutrition advice from naturopathic doctors in terms of what to eat to increase fertility. So, I am considering seeing a dietitian. 

Yes, of course. Having a diet plan is very helpful in order to have all the necessary nutrients that will support your fertility treatment. While it may not guarantee miracles, a healthy diet is definitely beneficial. I suggest considering consulting a dietitian specialized in fertility for personalized guidance.

Do you cooperate with any dietitians or nutritionists at Assisting Nature?

Yes, we do have a dietitian available at our clinic. We provide advice on maintaining a healthy diet before, during, and after IVF treatment. Our goal is to ensure you have the right nutritional support as you prepare for pregnancy.

The first-line testing before IVF – what to check if the first attempt was negative? Also, the second-line testing before IVF?

It’s important to note that I’m not a doctor, but I understand your concerns. After a failed attempt, further testing might be recommended. The tests and procedures can vary based on factors like your age and medical history. The best course of action is to consult your fertility specialist. They will guide you on the appropriate tests and any adjustments needed before proceeding to another treatment.

Do you think it’s worth trying acupuncture before IVF? Is it offered at your clinic?

Absolutely, acupuncture can be very helpful. Many patients opt for acupuncture before their embryo transfer, and it has shown positive results in many cases. At our clinic, we do have an acupuncturist who can provide this treatment. It’s a holistic approach that can contribute to your overall well-being and improve your body’s response to the treatment.

I struggle with migraines. Any tips on how to deal with this during treatment?

Migraines can indeed be challenging. Acupuncture has been known to help in managing migraines for many women. Additionally, maintaining regular exercise and relaxation techniques can be beneficial. However, if your migraines are severe or persistent, it’s crucial to consult your doctor for guidance.

Is a BMI of 32 an issue? Do I need to lose weight?

f your BMI is over 30, it can potentially impact your treatment. Higher BMI can affect how your body responds to fertility treatment. While it’s not easy, working with a dietitian to regulate your weight before starting treatment can have a positive impact on your journey.

Can ovarian cysts prevent you from being successful with IVF?

Ovarian cysts can indeed affect IVF treatment. Depending on the size and nature of the cyst, treatment may need to be postponed. Generally, it’s preferable to start treatment without any cysts to avoid complications and achieve better results.

I have done hysteroscopy, and polyps were removed. Can polyps come back, and if yes, how soon can they come back?

Unfortunately, polyps can reoccur. After their removal, it’s best to proceed with IVF treatment as close to the hysteroscopy as possible to minimize the chance of polyps reappearing. It’s always recommended to follow your doctor’s advice in these cases.

Should an IVF cycle be canceled if you have a cyst?

Generally, we aim to avoid starting IVF treatment if a cyst is present. The situation needs to be evaluated, and decisions should be made based on the size and nature of the cyst. Treatment may be postponed to ensure optimal conditions for a successful cycle. Your fertility specialist will guide you through this decision-making process.
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Veatriki Tsatsouli

Veatriki Tsatsouli

Veatriki Tsatsouli, Managing Director and Head of the International Patient Department at Assisting Nature Fertility Clinic. She is a senior healthcare executive with over 17 years' of experience in healthcare. She has dedicated her professional life to making a difference for both women and men struggling with fertility issues, by offering her expertise knowledge, support and understanding during their fertility journey. Her experience in the field of infertility has given her an in-depth understanding of the needs and expectations of patients and the requirements to develop and deliver exceptional care. Following her studies and training in fertility treatments, she embarked on further post graduate studies and successfully completed an MBA in Health Care Management, at Sheffield University.
Event Moderator
Caroline Kulczycka

Caroline Kulczycka

Caroline Kulczycka is managing MyIVFAnswers.com and has been hosting IVFWEBINARS dedicated to patients struggling with infertility since 2020. She's highly motivated and believes that educating patients so that they can make informed decisions is essential in their IVF journey. In the past, she has been working as an International Patient Coordinator, where she was helping and directing patients on their right path. She also worked in the tourism industry, and dealt with international customers on a daily basis, including working abroad. In her free time, you’ll find her travelling, biking, learning new things, or spending time outdoors.