Relatively clear answers and quality research can be hard to come by in fertility research. However, when it comes to how food relates to fertility outcomes, there are some decent data! The short answer is: Avoid fast food, and instead embrace fruits, vegetables, legumes, fish, whole grains, and foods high in omega 3, such as nuts. This goes not just for women undergoing fertility treatment, but also those hoping to conceive naturally. This “Mediterranean diet” has also been linked to higher sperm count and sperm quality in men. And yes, the literature actually refers to it as a “Mediterranean diet” – we swear we didn’t make it up because Ovally‘s partner clinics are in Spain :)!
Category: Fertility assessment
Sarah, 35, from DC, on her egg freezing experience with Ovally
“My friend suggested that I freeze my eggs in Europe because costs are much lower. After doing some research online, I felt overwhelmed by all of the unknown variables – is it safe, will anyone speak English, how long will I be there, where do I even start!? I was ready to give up on the whole idea and just empty my savings account to do the procedure in the US. Then I read about Ovally and reviewed their website. Shortly after, I had a phone call with a fertility coach, and then she took it from there! She matched me with the perfect clinic and even helped me plan my travel! My experience with Ovally was fantastic. They were in touch regularly before, during, and even after the process. Also, I could reach out to them asking even the smallest of questions, and would receive an almost immediate response.
Gillian’s egg freezing story with Ovally
Undergoing any kind of fertility treatment is a sensitive and very personal matter. Unfortunately, many still associate fertility treatments with stigma, which we are hoping to help decrease. That’s why we’re delighted to share Gillian’s Instagram story about freezing her eggs with Ovally. We’re grateful to her for her openness and honesty in sharing her story publicly.
Gillian says about using Ovally: “I had been considering egg freezing for years, but was daunted by the cost. Ovally made that feasible for me, but the experience was so much more valuable than I expected. Having a resource other than my doctor that I could go to for all my questions (including travel planning!) made an intimidating process so much more pleasant. Compared to friends who did this in the US, I felt like I got substantially better care both physically and psychologically. ”
Does drinking coffee or tea affect fertility?
“Can I have caffeine before and during my treatment?” is a great question we’ve gotten from our egg freezing and IVF Ovally customers. As is so often the case, the research on this question isn’t as clean and clear-cut as we’d like: It’s hard to separate out variables besides caffeine that can affect fertility outcomes, and many studies rely on retrospective self-reports of consumption, which can be unreliable. However, high-quality studies looking at a relationship between caffeine consumption and the ability to conceive during IVF treatment suggest that 1-2 cups of coffee per day don’t significantly affect the ability to conceive. Surprisingly, however, 1-2 cups of coffee a day (or the equivalent level of caffeine in another drink) have been found to double the risk of miscarriage during pregnancy.
What’re the diagnoses behind fertility issues? Part 1/4: Issues with ovulation
Every year, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) publishes statistics on reproductive health, including a small section on patient diagnoses underlying infertility. These diagnoses are based on data from ~260k IVF cycles that were done at 463 fertility clinics in the US (most recently in 2016). Next to “diminished ovarian reserve” (31% of diagnoses), the most common diagnosis women receive has to do with “ovulatory dysfunction”. We at Ovally set out to unpack what that means:
How do I know how fertile I am? Is there a test I can take?
We’ve been getting a lot of questions about fertility tests and other predictors of fertility from our customers who’re preparing for their fertility treatment with Ovally. For the purpose of this post, we’re going to focus on women’s fertility and what is available to test it, though keep in mind that it’s only half the story. The one predictor of fertility that probably comes to mind for most of us is age. We could write a whole post about the controversies of age-related fertility decline but will focus on hormone levels and fertility tests here. Suffice it to say that some frequently cited data on age-related fertility decline are very old and come with all kinds of confounds, but there is well established evidence that pregnancy success rates for women needing treatment for fertility issues decrease significantly with age, while rates of miscarriage and chromosomal abnormalities increase. A few studies comparing natural conception rates of women in their 30s and 40s have also shown that conception rates decrease and time to conception increases with age.
How do I know if I have enough eggs?
We hear this concern frequently from our Ovally customers – and given the cost of each egg freezing or IVF cycle, it’s certainly warranted. While we recommend you talk to your doctor about this question, we wanted to share some data points on the topic that you can use going into your conversations:
How it all started – Ovally’s founder’s personal story
Fertility has been in the back of my mind since my 20s when I started considering more seriously whether or not I wanted kids. The answer to that question wasn’t an emphatic yes, but also not a clear no. I was focused on school and career, I hadn’t found the right partner, and I was very conscious of the changes and sacrifices kids can bring.
Nonetheless, this voice in the back of my mind kept nagging me: Should I be worried about my biological clock even though I wasn’t even sure I wanted kids? How much time did I have to find the right partner and make a decision? Would I regret not having kids if I biologically couldn’t? Would I be just as happy adopting? How could I know whether I’d have fertility issues beyond those associated with aging?