How Does Sleep Affect Fertility in Men and Women?

Sleep plays a vital role in our lives because it helps to keep our bodies running optimally.  Getting a good night’s sleep helps to refresh and restore our brain and our organs as well as regulate important hormones in our body. 

Insomnia is defined as difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep throughout the night and/or waking up too early in the morning. Not getting enough sleep over a prolonged period of time can take a physical and mental toll on our body. But did you know that it could also affect your fertility?

How does sleep affect fertility?

Our bodies follow an internal clock or a sleep-wake pattern called the circadian rhythm and this will function properly if the body is exposed to a regular pattern of light and dark.  Even just a few nights of sleeplessness can affect hormone production.  The part of the brain that regulates the hormones involved in sleeping and being awake (cortisol and melatonin) is also responsible for triggering the hormones involved in reproduction. 

How does sleep affect men?

A high amount of daily hormone testosterone is produced in men in the night during sleep and these levels can be affected by changes in sleep cycle.  Testosterone is very important for healthy sperm production and thus men may have reduced semen quality and sperm count if they suffer from issues with proper sleep.  A study by Lauren Wise at Boston University found that there was 42% reduced probability of conception in any given month for men who slept less than 6 or more than 9 hours of sleep.1 Another study from Denmark in The American Journal of Epidemiology found how men who slept poorly had lower sperm count and fewer sperm that formed correctly compared to other men.2 The main explanation is most likely hormonal. 

How does sleep affect women?

In a woman, sleep deprivation can interfere with hormones that trigger ovulation and disrupt the menstrual cycle causing irregular periods.  Many hormones affecting fertility like thyroid stimulating hormone, progesterone, and estradiol which in turn regulates follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone could be affected by lack of proper sleep.  Women reporting sleep problems other than sleep apnea were 3.7 times more likely to be at risk for infertility than women with normal sleep patterns according to a large study of more than 16,000 women in Taiwan over a 10-year period.3 

How much sleep is necessary?

As with most things, the key to sleep is balance.  In order to ensure that your personal sleep needs are met you should strive to get more than 6 hours of sleep but less than 9 hours.  Too much sleep can also interfere with fertility.  An optimal amount of sleep is about 8 hours average although this requirement can vary from person to person and somewhat from season to season.  Here’s a helpful chart with recommended sleep amounts based on age.


How to treat insomnia

  • Get some exercise to elevate your heart rate temporarily every day for 30 minutes.  Even a simple walk for half an hour will improve your sleep.
  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day including weekends
  • Keep your bedroom dark and cool
  • Do not look at your screen for at least 30 minutes before bed.
  • Unwind and relax before bed, like take a bath, drink some warm milk, read  a book, listen to relaxing music  or try some meditation or any other way that relaxes you
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine consumption
  • Try to reduce stress and don’t bring your work home.
  • Don’t work odd hours like shift work or night shifts
  • Get outdoors for an hour or more of sunlight each day
  • Have your dinner early so that there’s enough gap between your dinner and bedtime
  • Have a light dinner because if you are too full, falling asleep becomes difficult. 
  • Have a good bed and pillow.
  • Avoid supplements like melatonin because it can interfere with your body’s processes

Lastly, not getting enough sleep is detrimental to your emotional health and mood. If you are irritable and tired for an extended time, you may eventually run into problems of sexual intimacy with your partner. 

Almost all of us occasionally have a poor night’s sleep.  If you are a woman trying to get pregnant and have insomnia three times a week for more than three months, you might want to visit us at Xenith Advanced Fertility Clinic.  If your sleep and fertility problems continue, feel free to talk to us to find out if an underlying medical condition may be a factor.

Low AMH in the Indian Context

Nowadays, more and more women are choosing to delay having children due to late marriages or career opportunities, or various other reasons.  However, fertility declines with age and it is important to make informed choices in order to have children at the appropriate time. Thanks to modern science and technology, fertility treatment makes it possible for most women who are having trouble getting pregnant, to succeed and enjoy motherhood.

What is AMH and what does it have to do with fertility

Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH) is a hormone that is secreted by the granulosa cells in the ovarian follicles and its levels can be determined by a simple blood test which is less expensive and takes less time. The blood test can be done at any time of the woman’s cycle. 

Why take the AMH test?

One of the main advantages of this test is that it can determine when a women’s fertility may start to decline. The AMH test can give women the option of making an informed decision about when to get pregnant. 

Couples are able to plan parenthood. If the results of the AMH test are good, couples can consider postponing their decision to start a family if that is what they desire. This could be for medical reasons or other career decisions that may impact the decision of starting a family. If the AMH results are not so good, couples can consider trying to get pregnant sooner rather than later.

The AMH test also gives couples the option of freezing eggs or embryos if ovarian reserves are low and they prefer to wait to start a family.

What the results of an AMH test show

AMH test (popularly known as the Ovarian Reserve Test) is used as a marker for the quantity of eggs but not quality.  AMH levels usually peak in women aged 20-25 years and tend to gradually decline until menopause is reached. 

Á higher AMH level means that there is a higher ovarian reserve or egg count and it thus gives an idea of how many eggs are present in the ovary at a certain time.  An exception to this rule is women with many small follicles, like those with polycystic ovaries (PCOS), who tend to have high AMH hormone values.

Lower levels of AMH values generally indicate a woman with diminished ovarian reserve. 

However, it must be noted that a good AMH level does not always ensure higher fertility.  Even though high AMH levels may indicate good fertility rate, it does not reflect the quality of the eggs produced which can diminish with age and other factors.  Alternately low AMH levels do not mean that a woman cannot get pregnant naturally because it takes only one good egg along with sperm to get pregnant. 

Poor ovarian reserves – one of the leading causes of infertility in Indian women

A study in the Journal of Human Reproductive Sciences found that there is a more rapid decrease in AMH levels with age in Indian women compared to their Caucasian counterparts. It is not clear why this trend is prevalent in Indian women – it could be due to a number of factors such as diet, genetics, or pollution.1

Another study conducted by a diagnostics centre in Mumbai found that 1 out of 2 women visiting infertility centers had low AMH values.  Over 29,500 samples from women aged between 20 and 55 years were analyzed. Low or extremely low levels of AMH were found in:2

  • Over 54% of the women aged 30 to 35
  • Over 38% of the women aged 26 to 30

For this reason alone, it is important that women become aware of their ovarian reserves and get themselves tested. For more information, please watch Dr. Mamta Dighe’s video on this subject here.

Low AMH levels? What next?

Having low AMH levels might explain why it might be more difficult to get pregnant, but it doesn’t mean that you cannot get pregnant naturally because it only takes one healthy egg to combine with a sperm and form an embryo in order to become pregnant.  Schedule a consultation with us at Xenith Advanced Fertility Clinic. There’s a fertility specialist near you at either Wakad or Koregaon Park in Pune. Despite low AMH levels, women have a higher chance of starting a family than they did even a decade ago. Reach out, let’s talk about it!

Yoga Poses to Help Boost Fertility

One way of improving fertility outcomes while undergoing fertility treatment is by practicing yoga. Fertility yoga has been gaining popularity as a tool for helping to boost fertility. Yoga is known for preserving and maintaining physical and mental health.

Does yoga increase fertility?

Certain yoga poses can reduce stress levels, cleanse the body of toxins as well as improve circulation and flexibility especially in the hip and pelvic area. It is also known to help keep hormonal imbalances in check which in turn can boost fertility.

According to a study published in PubMed, the success of Artificial Reproductive Technology (ART) can be affected by a patient’s psychological, social, and physical status. The study examined the effects of yoga-including asanas (yoga poses), pranayama (proper breathing), shavasana, and meditation-on male and female fertility and ART outcomes. They study found that “yoga can help couples overcome infertility and increase the ART success rate by improving the physiological and psychological states of both men and women.”1

Another study by Dr. Alice Domar at Harvard has proved that women who took fertility focused yoga courses were almost three times more likely to conceive than those who did not.2  

Yet another study published in 2012 states, “Yoga for fertility improves both female and male infertility by minimizing stress, which consecutively balances the hormones of the body with improvement in mental health; thereby increasing a couple’s ability to conceive. However, persuasive research in this scientific field is still unmapped.”3

Couples can do fertility yoga together to help them overcome stress related to the strenuous IVF procedure. 

Yoga and Fertility for Women

An article that reviewed 87 studies concluded that yoga could help relieve stress in women with infertility issues.4 The following benefits were perceived:

  • reducing their anxiety and depression
  • improving their sleep
  • helping them manage the stresses of pregnancy, labor, and birth
  • improving their quality of life during pregnancy or after stillbirth for women.

The article also reported benefits for stress management in patients with infertility Yoga may help to

  • manage ovulation and oocytes improvement for fertility
  • decrease depression, anxiety, and stress

Yoga and Fertility for Men

The benefits of regular yoga practice were not limited to women with infertility. Men with infertility also benefited may be able to experience improvements in sperm count, sperm motility, and prostate secretion showed improvement in men who practiced yoga.

Top Yoga Poses to Boost Fertility

Warm up by sitting in the lotus position, taking a few deep breaths and then rotating your head in one direction and then the other way.  Straighten your legs and rotate your feet in one direction and then the other as well as stretch your foot away from you and towards you alternately.  Stretch your arms as well by moving them in a circular motion a few times.

Dandasana: This position helps with correcting posture and strengthening the back muscles, the hamstrings and the core which in turn energizes the body and leads to decreased stress.  Remain in this position for at least a minute and repeat this asana 3 to 5 times.5

Paschimottanasana: Also known as seated forward fold stretches the muscles on your lower back, hips and hamstrings.  It is said to improve fertility in women by vitalizing important organs like the ovaries and stomach and stretching the spine improves the blood flow toward the pelvis and head while reducing mental stress.  Hold this position for two minutes.6

Janu Sirsasana: It is the one-legged forward bend or the head to knee pose.  It stretches the calves and the hamstrings of your body while relaxing the muscles of the abdomen.  Hold this pose for 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg.7

Sarvangasana: Also known as shoulder stand helps treat thyroid conditions and relieves stress.8

Bhramari Pranayama: Also called the humming bee breath asana is done by placing your thumb over your ears, closing your eyes with the rest of your fingers and making a humming bee sound in a high pitch tone while exhaling for as long as you can.  It calms the body.  Do 6 to 7 times.9

Setu Bandhasana: Also known as the bridge pose, improves body circulation and helps expand the pelvic region while having a calming effect on the brain.10

Shavasana: This is a simple posture, also known as the corpse posture. It is done at the end of each yoga posture to normalize the heartbeat and also relax strained muscles.  It is basically lying flat on your back and breathing normally for 3 to 4 minutes.  It can give you a peaceful rest.11

Other fertility yoga poses may want to try include:

  • Viparita Karani
  • Marjaryasana
  • Balasana
  • Kapalbhati Pranayama
  • Anulom vilom

Practice these moves regularly to help you relax and de-stress.  However, make sure you have mastered the correct posture and breathing techniques by learning from a certified yoga instructor in order to avoid any injury.  Contact us at Xenith Advanced Fertility Centre if you would like to learn about how to boost your fertility through yoga!

Endometriosis: All You Need to Know About It

Endometriosis is a debilitating condition that affects about 10% of women at reproductive age, according to the World Health Organization. The pain can be chronic affecting the quality of life and in some women, it can result in losing ten hours a week from work or study, per reports. Endometriosis is one of those things that women often don’t talk about, suffering in silence, but the earlier it can be diagnosed the better the treatment outcomes.

What is the endometrium?

The endometrium is the tissue lining the uterus. Every month to prepare for the ovulation cycle, the endometrium gets thicker and it is at its thickest right before ovulation. An environment is created within the womb that is ripe for fertilization. In the IVF process, this is the time to prepare for embryo implantation. If fertilization does not take place at this time, the outer tissue lining is shed through menstruation.

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a female disorder in which an abnormal tissue resembling the endometrial tissue, but growing outside the uterus. This tissue behaves similar to the endometrium in that it also responds to the hormones that affect the menstrual cycle.  It too thickens before ovulation and during menstruation, it bleeds into areas where it shouldn’t, but there is nowhere for the waste tissue and blood to go.  

This rogue tissue can develop anywhere in the body, but it usually affects the pelvic area including the ovaries, fallopian tubes, tissues that support the uterus, and outside of the uterus.  Endometrial tissue can also develop in other areas including the abdominal cavity, digestive tract, urinary bladder, lungs and even around the heart.  

How can endometriosis cause infertility?

Even though this tissue is not cancerous, it can lead to scarring and adhesions where the tissue binds the pelvic organs together.  It can block the fallopian tubes making it harder for the sperm to reach the egg or grow into the ovaries affecting egg growth and can also prevent the embryo from implanting.  Formation of cysts due to trapped blood can cause chronic inflammation in the pelvis which can result in pain.  Tissues could also fuse together, leading to changes in the reproductive organs.  As tissue decomposes, scar tissue can form and it can gradually worsen over time.    

What are the symptoms of endometriosis?

In many cases, women may not experience any signs and symptoms but when they do, common symptoms can include:

  • Pelvic and abdominal pain and cramping especially during menstruation and sex
  • Heavy bleeding and painful periods lasting longer than 7 days or bleeding between periods
  • Pain during bowel movements and urination (especially during periods)
  • Fatigue, diarrhea, constipation and bloating
  • Blood in the stool or urine
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Difficulty becoming pregnant if left untreated
  • Chronic lower back and pelvic pain

How can endometriosis be diagnosed? 

It can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are very similar to many other disorders and they vary so much from person to person depending on the severity.  It can be diagnosed by having a pelvic exam, going through imaging tests such as an ultrasound or MRI scan, laparoscopy, or getting a biopsy.  Surgical laparoscopy is a procedure where the doctor inserts a laparoscope through a small incision to look at the tissue and is a sure fire way to confirm a diagnosis as well as treatment for endometriosis.  

What are the different stages and types of endometriosis?

There are four stages to describe the severity of endometriosis ranging from minimal to severe.

Stage 1: Minimal-few shallow implants or tissue growths and no significant scar tissue

Stage 2: Mild- more implants that stage I and also may have some scar tissue

Stage 3: Moderate-multiple, deep implants, both superficial and deeply invasive.  Adhesions or thick bands of scar tissue may be present on the tubes and ovaries

Stage 4: Severe- multiple deep implants and adhesions as well as large cysts

The stages of endometriosis are not specifically linked to levels of pain.  But the risk of infertility appears to increase as the stages progress. 

What is the treatment for endometriosis?

There is currently no cure for endometriosis but various treatment options may help manage symptoms like pain management through hormonal treatments.  Women with Stage 1 and 2 endometriosis may be able to conceive naturally. Cysts or scar tissues may be surgically removed, to improve your chances of getting pregnant.  

Other treatment options will first need to consider a few factors in order to determine the best treatment for you specifically.  Some of these factors include your age, the severity of your symptoms, the severity of endometriosis itself and whether you want to have children.

What options do women with endometriosis have to conceive? 

To improve fertility for females who have mild or moderate endometriosis, our doctors at Xenith Advanced Fertility Clinic will usually recommend a laparoscopy to remove or vaporize the growths followed by an IUI.

If pregnancy still doesn’t happen, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) could be the best option for couples desiring to have children of their own.  IVF involves using hormones for the woman to produce more than one mature egg at a time after which the eggs are collected, fertilized with your partner’s sperm in a lab setting. Fertilization takes place and the resulting embryo is transferred back to the woman’s uterus for implantation.  

During pregnancy, the symptoms of endometriosis could disappear since there is no menstruation during this time.  If endometriosis is affecting your fertility, please don’t lose hope of having a baby.  Reach out to a fertility specialist at Xenith Advanced Fertility Clinic near you – in Wakad or Koregaon Park.

Egg freezing: A Ray of Hope for Cancer Patients to Deal with Infertility

The big “C” word can be overwhelming but there is a brighter side. With modern science, medicine, and technology most people who catch malignancy in time are able to overcome it. However, what child-bearing women often neglect to ask their doctor is this: Will my cancer surgery and its treatment affect my ability to have children?

Unfortunately, the idea of fertility preservation for cancer patients or oncofertility as it is called is rarely offered or even discussed with the patient because they are so focused on their cancer treatment.  

Patients today have a much better survival rate and can also dream of having their own children. The use of assisted reproductive technologies like egg or embryo freezing and IVF, can offer a ray of hope for these women as they face this challenging time in their lives.  

How do various cancer treatments affect a woman’s fertility?

Egg freezing may be considered if you have been diagnosed with cancer and have 2-6 weeks’ time before you begin treatment. Below is a summary of treatment options cancer patients are likely to have and the impact it may have on a woman’s fertility.

Surgery: Sometimes surgery is required for some reproductive cancers which affect the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, or other parts of the reproductive tract.  Removing tumors from these areas of the body can lead to scar tissue which can interfere with conception.  In some cases, treatment may require the removal of all or part of a reproductive organ, which can hinder a woman’s ability to become pregnant after the surgery.

Chemotherapy: Many chemotherapy drugs can damage the ovaries because they usually work by targeting cancer with medications called cytotoxins.  Even though this type of medication targets cancer cells, other fast-dividing cells in the body can also be affected.  

Women are born with all the egg cells they will ever have in their ovaries.  At any given time, a certain number of these follicles will become mature during each menstrual cycle when they ovulate and one egg will be released.  Chemotherapy can damage a woman’s eggs, particularly the ones which are closest to being released by the ovaries during ovulation.  

Radiation therapy: The high-energy rays in radiotherapy are targeted directly at the specific area of cancer in the patient’s body to destroy cancer cells but nearby healthy cells can also be damaged.  There is a greater likelihood of the radiation therapy affecting fertility if the cancer is closer to the reproductive tract and the abdomen or also near the pituitary gland in the brain which signals the hormone production.  

Fertility preservation techniques for cancer patients

Egg freezing offers many cancer patients the opportunity to safeguard their future in fertility before they enter cancer treatment by preserving their eggs for later use.  The procedure can be done at Xenith Advanced Fertility Clinic. Our doctors will first stimulate the ovaries by injecting hormones to boost the production of multiple eggs which are then retrieved using ultrasound and frozen at sub-zero temperatures using cryoprotectants to avoid the formation of ice crystals.  

These eggs can be stored up to ten years without any significant loss of quality. The eggs are protected and safe while the patient goes through cancer treatment and recovery, ready to be used for IVF when she is healthy again. When required, the frozen eggs are thawed and allowed to fertilize with the sperm in the lab and the resulting embryo is implanted via in vitro fertilization (IVF) in the womb.  

A ray of hope for women who may be impacted by infertility due to cancer and its treatment

Egg freezing could be a ray of hope for women diagnosed with cancer or other medical conditions that may affect their ability to conceive. After cancer is in remission, there is the potential to conceive.  Unfortunately, there are no guarantees.  We recommend you consult with your oncologist. Ask him if the surgery or treatment could negatively impact fertility? If you want to learn more about freezing your eggs before you enter treatment, don’t wait. Talk to us at Xenith. Choose the fertility clinic near you – Wakad or Koregaon Park. Life after cancer can be rich and fulfilling and can include creating your own family.

Tips for Losing Weight with PCOS

PCOS is short for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. It is a common endocrine and reproductive disorder in women characterized by hormonal imbalances, irregular periods, and the development of small cysts in one or both ovaries. PCOS can lead to metabolic disorders associated with insulin resistance and inflammation making it harder for women to lose weight.

PCOS Diet and Nutrition

Too much insulin in the body can turn your body into a fat storage facility. According to the National Institutes of Health, “Between 40% and 85% of women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) are overweight or obese and obesity is closely linked to the development of PCOS.”1

Losing weight is one of the first recommendations doctors prescribe to women with PCOS. The problem is: women with PCOS may find that they are always hungry. The hormonal imbalance, insulin resistance, and inflammation can make it even harder for women with PCOS to lose weight.

While achieving weight loss can be an uphill climb for women with PCOS, it can be done with a little willpower and consistency in maintaining a balanced exercise and diet regimen. Treatment for PCOS usually involves reducing insulin levels and this may involve making changes in your diet and lifestyle.

Diet Changes: Tips for losing weight for women with PCOS

This should encourage the women with PCOS who are struggling to lose weight: Studies have noted that even a 5% loss in body weight can improve insulin resistance, hormone levels, menstrual cycles, fertility, and overall quality of life in women with PCOS.2

Work toward achieving smaller goals and over time you’ll find weight loss success. Here are some tips that can help you lose weight.

Reduce your carb intake

Maintain what is called a low glycemic diet – a diet that is low in carbs, rich in fiber, and includes an adequate amount of protein at each meal. A low glycemic diet can improve the body’s use of insulin which in turn could lead to weight loss.

Refined carbs like white bread, pasta, as well as store-bought juices, and packaged foods can cause your blood sugar to rise and fall quickly making you only hungrier for more. Eat foods with complex carbs like vegetables (leafy greens, green beans, peas, carrots), fruits, whole grains, and legumes like dals because they take longer to digest due to their high fiber content. Keep snacks on hand like nuts and fruits sprinkled with seasonings like lemon juice, spices, and fresh herbs to spruce up your foods.  Avoid foods like cakes, cookies, candy, and fast foods.

Get enough protein intake

Eating protein-rich foods can help stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce cravings. Protein has a way of making you feel fuller, for longer. Healthy high protein foods include dals, beans, yogurt, eggs, nuts, white meat, and seafood. Eat about with 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of your ideal body weight.

Up your fiber intake

When you feel hungry, snack on cucumbers and carrots – these are high-fiber foods that can help to stabilize your blood sugar and keep you fuller longer. Vegetable smoothies with a protein powder is a great way to get fiber and protein into your daily diet and kill those hunger pangs. According to the American Heart Association, women should eat at least 21 to 25 grams of fiber per day.

Lifestyle Changes: Tips for losing weight for women with PCOS

Practice mindful eating

Mindful eating means actually sitting down at specified meal times, savoring your food and thinking about what you are putting in your body without distractions like the television so that you are more aware of cues from your body which helps in portion control and prevents overeating.  It may help with eating issues like binge eating and emotional eating

Reduce inflammation

Inflammation is your body’s natural response to infection or injury. But chronic inflammation is linked to obesity and is common in women with PCOS. Sugar and processed foods may contribute to inflammation. A diet like the Mediterranean diet which is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, and omega 3 rich foods such as fatty fish may protect against inflammation.

Don’t undereat

Don’t go overboard in your diet. Eating too few calories can negatively affect the hormones that control your appetite and in the long term may slow down your metabolism eventually leading to weight regain after initial weight loss. So don’t restrict caloric intake but focus on eating whole foods and cutting out unhealthy products. Eat a healthy breakfast high in protein, healthy fats as well as fiber which in turn can help decrease your appetite throughout the day. Try eating smaller more frequent meals.

Exercise regularly

Exercise first, and eat later. Exercising just before a meal can help boost your metabolism so that you are storing carbs for energy, and not fats. Exercise can also help your body use up extra glucose stores bringing your insulin levels down. Exercising at least 30 minutes every day to get your heart rate up can help and help you lose calories faster. A regular, consistent exercise pattern trains your body to utilize glucose properly.

Get enough sleep

If you have PCOS, you may experience sleep disturbances. You may feel very sleepy during the day if you have not had adequate sleep. Poor sleep has been linked to obesity because it can increase the activity of certain hormones which cause you to eat more throughout the day. It’s good to have 6 to 8 hours of sound sleep every night. 

Manage your stress

Stress increases levels of the hormone cortisol. High levels of this hormone for long periods of time are linked to insulin resistance and weight gain. Find a way to cope with stress. Take time to do whatever it is that can help you relax. For some women, it is reading a good book or watching a good movie. For some, it can include practicing meditation, doing yoga, or spending time gardening. Women with PCOS need to watch their calorie intake. Any excess in calories can lead to more storage of fat in the body. If you have PCOS and are struggling to lose weight, visit us at Xenith Advanced Fertility Clinic. PCOS can also be one of the primary for not being able to conceive so treating PCOS early can lead to more successful chances of getting pregnant. Consult with one of our dieticians who specialize in PCOS weight loss.

IVF Success Rates:  Why you should have hope after failed IVF

The success rate of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) in India has been steadily improving with advanced science and technology. It is giving hope to millions of couples who otherwise would not have had the chance to hold their baby in their arms. At Xenith Advanced Fertility Clinic we are happy to see many of the couples under our care have their dreams come true.

What is IVF? 

IVF is a process where a woman’s ovaries are stimulated to produce mature eggs. These eggs are then retrieved, fertilized with the sperm in a specialized IVF lab to create an embryo which is then transferred back into the uterus for implantation in the uterine lining. 

Once the embryo is transferred, the nail-biting wait is on for about two weeks to find out if this led to a successful pregnancy. 

IVF success rate is measured as the percentage of live birth per embryo transfer and this can differ from couple to couple, from clinic to clinic, from one specialist to another and can also depend on the type of IVF procedure being performed.

Multiple tests and diagnostics are done before the IVF are used to determine a customized course of action for the IVF procedure to yield the best results in the first IVF cycle.

What factors can impact IVF success rates?

The success rate of an IVF procedure can be affected by various factors like:

Age: Globally, the average IVF success rate is 40%. This can be higher in women under 35 years of age. After the 35, IVF success rates begin to decline. It goes down to 19% for women between the ages of 40-42.  Women aged 45 and above, have a much lower chance of IVF success. Doctors recommend that women who are struggling to conceive should seek at the earliest, as age is a determinative factor for IVF success. (1)

Endometrium receptivity:  A successful embryo implantation is very important for a positive outcome of in vitro fertilization. There is only a short period of time during which the endometrium is receptive for the embryo and this can be detected by a test called Endometrial receptivity analysis(ERA) which studies the endometrium at a molecular level.  The thickness of the endometrium is important for implantation and it can be artificially prepared with supplementation of various hormones or drugs if the endometrium is too thin or too thick. An experienced and well-qualified embryologist can help couples improve their chances of IVF success, even after multiple IVF failures. 

Other factors that can impact IVF success include:

  • The quantity and quality of the eggs/embryo
  • The quantity and quality of sperm
  • The stimulation protocols and the timing of ovulation
  • The ease of the embryo transfer process
  • Certain issues like fibroid tumours or uterine abnormalities
  • Certain lifestyle issues like smoking, drug/alcohol use
  • Obesity

Is there hope after a failed IVF?

The world of IVF is advancing every day. IVF success rates are climbing higher and more couples are able to achieve IVF success today than ever before. With specialized treatments that are customized for each couple, doctors are able to perform highly advanced techniques that can increase the chances of IVF success.

Weak sperm may need to be retrieved using a procedure called the Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection or Microsurgical Sperm Treatment used when sperm needs to be retrieved from the testes surgically. In a couple with advanced age, chromosomal abnormalities are the likely cause of IVF failure where we would recommend a Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS) to increase the chance of implantation. Advanced procedures such as laser-assisted hatching where the outer layer of the embryo is slightly broken to increase the chances of implantation of a healthy embryo can be conducted at Xenith.

IVF offers hope for women of all ages.The NICE fertility guide released by the National Institute for Health Care and Excellence in the U.K., recommends that “women under 40 who have been trying to get pregnant for two years, should be offered 3 full cycles of IVF. For women aged between 40 and 42, who have been trying for 2 or more years, and have not previously received IVF or shown evidence of low ovarian reserve, NICE recommends 1 full cycle of treatment.”1

With every failed cycle, doctors are able to assess the cause of failure and improvise their treatment for the next cycle.

Having the right team to support you can improve IVF success rates

The right experts: Choose the best experts for your case so that your chances of success are optimized.  A higher success rate can often result in an IVF clinic that has more experience and more qualified doctors. At Xenith Advanced Fertility Clinic, we take on tough cases. Couples often come to us after experiencing repeated IVF failures in other clinics. Many of them are able to achieve pregnancy success with us because of our expertise, experience, and state-of-the-art equipment in our clinic.

The right clinic: IVF success rates are dependent upon the entire clinical and laboratory team. There are multiple levels of emotional and financial stress on the family going through IVF cycles and this stress can be compounded by multiple failures. At Xenith, our entire team works toward making the journey smooth and less stressful for every couple. Along with the best of doctors, we have a supportive staff with counseling and therapeutic communication at each stage of a couple’s IVF journey.  To find out more about the team at Xenith Advanced Fertility Clinic, schedule an appointment!

Nervous about Your First Visit to the IVF Doctor. Here Are a Few Tips to Prepare You

Going to a fertility clinic for the first time can be both exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time.  You don’t know what to expect. So many questions are running through your mind.  What are the right questions to ask?  What do I need to take with me? What kind of questions will the doctor ask me? Every couple wants to understand the fertility journey they are about to take.

Your fertility journey will begin with a doctor’s consult which would include an in-depth evaluation of your medical history and once this is established, the doctor can outline a customized treatment plan.

Xenith Advanced Fertility Clinic is one of the best centers for IVF treatment in Pune. We make couples feel as comfortable as possible. We believe it’s important that couples relax and are able to open up about their lives. Seeking the help of a fertility specialist is the first step toward the journey of making your sweet dream come true!

To help you as you begin this adventure, we’ve gathered a few tips for couples to better face their first consultation with a fertility doctor.

What to bring for your first doctor’s consultation

Medical records are a must

The doctor will want to understand your medical history. Are there any prior illnesses she should know about? Does either partner have diabetes; is it under control? Has the couple been to other doctors or have had any medical examination or taken any medication for fertility? Do you know of any hormonal problems? Have you had any miscarriages? Bring as many supportive documents as you can.  Make sure you tell the doctor about any medication or supplements you are taking.

Bring your notebook

Before you come to the clinic, write down all the questions you’d like to ask the doctor. This should include any doubts and fears you might have, as well as pertinent questions about your chances of having a baby. Be forthright with the doctor, even about finances and the costs involved.

The notepad will also help you jot down things as the doctor explains your journey ahead. The first visit is often overwhelming for couples so it helps to take notes.

Bring your partner!

Take your spouse with you for the first consultation with the doctor. You can lean on each other for emotional support. You’ll both become aware of what will be involved in the treatment and be able to ask questions together. This is a choice that both partners need to make. Also, infertility is a couple of problems and needs evaluation and history from both partners.

What kind of questions to expect from the doctor?

  • The doctor will ask couples questions such as:
  • How long have you been trying to get pregnant?
  • What is your home environment like?
  • Are there any menstrual problems or issues related to intercourse?
  • Do you become easily anxious and whether either partner is prone to depression?

Other questions may be related to weight, age of menstruation, details about your cycle, lifestyle choices – whether you lead a sedentary life, exercise, drink, or smoke.

What kind of questions should you ask the doctor?

Ask everything that is on your mind, for sure, but don’t forget to ask these pertinent questions as well.

Ask: How qualified is your doctor?

There is a difference between a fertility specialist and a board-certified fertility practitioner. There are many who are called “fertility specialists” but are not fully qualified. At Xenith, Dr. Mamta Dighe is one of the first few doctors in India to receive a Fellowship in Reproductive Medicine. Once you meet her, you’ll know why her patients call her the best IVF doctor in Pune!

Ask: What are the fertility success rates in the clinic? How do they compare with other clinics?

When you ask, be more specific. Ask about the fertility success rates for a couple in your age group and with similar problems as yours. Some fertility clinics take only younger patients as the fertility success rates are higher in such cases. They can appear to be wonderful but couples can get a truer picture by knowing the age group of such couples. Ask about the difference in success rates for achieving pregnancy vs IVF success rates.

At Xenith, we hold a record for achieving more than 70% pregnancy for infertile couples! We specialize in taking couples who have experienced repeated IVF failures.

Ask: Does the clinic provide counselors to provide emotional support?

Most couples are facing the disappointment of not being able to conceive naturally when they enter a fertility clinic. Going through diagnostic examinations, hormone treatment, the ups and downs of treatment can be an exhaustive emotional experience. Make sure the clinic has counselors available when counseling is needed.

Ask: Are diagnostic tests and procedures done in the clinic?

Having all the diagnostics done under one roof means that couples are not running to other centers to get tests done. It also means that the results are reliable. Having an in-house IVF lab with full-time embryologists can assure couples that the lab environment, room temperature, and procedures are well under control – these are important factors for IVF success. If you have not been able to conceive after 6 months of actively trying, come see us at Xenith Advanced Fertility Clinic. Some of the best embryologists in the country are working with us, along with nutritionists and complementary care physicians, fully equipped to support couples in the IVF treatment process. Schedule an appointment with us today.

3 Failed IVF Cycles Can Be Devastating. Here’s What to Do Next?

“It’s the most painful thing I’ve ever been through…after three failed cycles I’m not sure I can take any more,” said a patient who came to us with wide eyes full of expectant hope. The news that an IVF cycle has failed – whether it’s the first one or the third – can be heartbreaking, but not without hope, as we shall see for this couple and many more like them, at the end of this article.

Many couples are overwhelmed with a sense of uncertainty when an IVF cycle has failed. After repeated failures, couples begin to wonder what to do. What next? How do I deal with this? Should we give up? Should we wait a year and try again? Under the circumstances, these questions and more are bound to arise.

Before we get into understanding IVF cycle failures, let’s start with…

What can you do to increase your chances of IVF success?

Turn to the best IVF clinic in Pune

The likelihood that you will achieve pregnancy and go through full term in the first cycle itself is largely dependent on the quality of the IVF program. IVF clinics are not equal – some have a higher rate of success than others. Going to the best IVF fertility clinic in Pune will certainly increase your IVF success rate. At Xenith, we have a Board Certified Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility specialist and can boast of some of the highest rates for IVF success in Pune.

Freeze your eggs or embryos in the first IVF cycle

Collecting viable eggs in your first IVF cycle saves you from having to go through the entire hormonal treatment again. This can make the next few IVF cycles a little bit easier since all that the embryologist has to do is fertilize them if eggs are frozen, or implant an embryo if embryos are frozen.

How many IVF cycles should you go through before you see IVF success?

According to the National Institute of Health, it takes an average of 3.6 IVF cycles to achieve pregnancy.  Many clinics believe that after 3 to 4 unsuccessful IVF cycles, one is less likely to benefit from future cycles. However, according to a study done in the United Kingdom, the greatest percentage of IVF success occurs in 6 cycles but success is also age-related as this six-cycle regimen works best for women under the age of 35.1 The famous singer, Celine Dion, had to endure 6 failed IVF cycles before having a successful pregnancy. 

What are some of the common causes for IVF failure?

There can be myriad reasons why an IVF cycle fails. Each couple is different and while it is not possible to pinpoint the exact reason, there are some common causes.

Chromosomal abnormalities

A failed IVF cycle could be due to the presence of too many or too few chromosomes or structural abnormality in the chromosomes.  You can opt for preimplantation genetic testing to be done. A sample of cells from the embryo is taken and examined in our IVF lab for chromosomal abnormalities. This will ensure our embryologists implant an embryo that is not abnormal. This will increase the chances of success.

Endometrial receptivity

Sometimes, the embryo cannot attach to the membrane lining in the uterus also called the endometrium due to various factors like the thickness of the lining, presence of too much fluid, polyps or if there’s an infection.  A bacterial infection could be treated by antibiotic therapy.  Other factors like a history of fibroids, anatomical abnormality, and having PCOS may influence successful pregnancy.  Some of these issues are corrected before the IVF procedure begins to encourage successful pregnancy.

Lifestyle factors

To help the success of the IVF cycle, we recommend that couples lead a healthy lifestyle. There is some indication from studies that show factors such as body weight, smoking, drinking, diet, exercise, and stress can all influence chances of becoming pregnant. Before starting an IVF cycle, it may help to reach an optimal weight through diet and exercise.

Next steps

Have a detailed discussion with your doctor

It is important to understand the recurrent causes of IVF failures. The doctor will be able to evaluate whether the causes can be corrected and the modifications that need to be made for the next cycle.

Couples can have several options even after IVF cycles have failed. If maternal age is a factor, think about using donor eggs which can increase your chances of having a successful outcome.  There is also the opportunity to adopt a child to consider.  These are personal decisions each couple must make for themselves.  It’s also okay if a couple decided to stop the IVF journey.

Take time to pause and grieve, rely on your support group

It is important to seek support through your family, friends, and other support groups, even a psychologist — wherever you feel comfortable to vent your feelings and find a constructive way to heal.  Feel free to ask for help and don’t be so hard on yourself.  Don’t let yourself feel alone or isolate yourself.

No medical expert or scientist has been able to exactly figure why that magical moment happens and why other attempts have failed. We have experienced some couples succeed in spite of all odds and that gives us all joy. Some couples go through a harder time when there is apparently nothing wrong. Like the couple at the beginning of our article. They were blessed with a baby boy following treatment with us after the previous 5  failed attempts.IVF is still one of the best opportunities infertile couples have to succeed in having children of their own. Visit us at one of our Xenith fertility clinics near you – either at Wakad or Koregaon Park.

Importance of Psychological Support During Fertility Treatment

Parenthood is considered an important milestone in a couple’s life. When “good news” seems to have passed you by, couples have the next “good news” – the chance to be able to conceive with the help of a fertility specialist. Thanks to science and advanced technology, couples can look forward to having their dreams come true.

However, IVF treatment can be a stressful experience for some couples. There is a link between mental health and fertility. It is important for couples to recognize the need for psychological support during this time to make the journey as comfortable as possible.

Types of Psychological Support

Emotional issues during fertility treatment are common. This is in part due to the hormonal treatment administered to women during the treatment process. Generally, there are three types of psychological support couples can receive during this time.

Education support for emotional wellbeing

This can be as simple as getting the answers you need to common questions you may have. We also recommend that couples go through documentary resources on stress coping, audiovisual information of IVF processes and treatments. It is important to receive support after negative pregnancy tests, and abandoned cycles. We believe that the patient-centric care we offer helps to improve emotional wellbeing and also increases a couple’s acceptance and preparation of fertility treatments.

Support counseling

Couples who come for infertility treatment are already saddened by the fact that they have not been able to conceive naturally. Infertility is associated with anger, depression, anxiety, marital problems, sexual dysfunction, and social isolation. There is a sense of loss and social stigma that many childless couples face. We, at Xenith Advanced Fertility Clinic, understand the issues. All members of our infertility team are trained to provide emotional support. The main aim of such counseling is to help couples use their resources to cope with situations in and outside the clinic.

Professional counselors

Professional counselors can help couples address specific needs at different stages of the IVF journey. Some couples are particularly anxious because of the unfulfilled desire to get pregnant, the repeated cycles of interventions with IVF treatment, long-lasting wait that often creates frustration, disappointment that can put an additional marital, familial, and interpersonal strain on relationships.

Professional counselors are qualified and have a working knowledge of reproductive psychology and infertility. They can help couples handle complex issues, assisting couples to accept the situation and develop coping strategies. Such counselors can also help couples deal with specific issues they are facing in their marital life.

Tips for couples

IVF can impact a couple’s life in different ways – socially, financially, emotionally, and physically and all of these factors can lead to psychological issues.  Here are a few tips to help you make it through the IVF journey.

Look after your relationships.  Have open, honest communication with your partner before starting the IVF cycle so that you can be strong together throughout the procedure.  Discuss what you expect of each other during the treatment like whether you want to go together for all the appointments, what to do if you need to undergo unexpected procedures.

Find support from friends and family. It’s important to have an extended circle of support apart from your spouse. This extended circle should consist of people who understand and know you. Studies have found that a good support group can decrease stress and in turn increase positive pregnancy outcomes. (1)

Identify what causes you stress and consider ways to cope. Think about solutions to these stressors and anticipate ahead.  You and your partner may deal with stress in different ways. It is important to recognize those differences and have a good discussion with your partner. Learn to support each other and reduce conflict.

Exercise is a good way to reduce stress. Other ways to de-stress can include listening to music, relaxation tapes, meditation, and humour to lighten your mood.  Try yoga or breathing techniques to calm your mind and body.  Express your feelings in a journal if you think it helps.

Eat healthy nutritional meals, cut out smoking or excessive drinking. 

Don’t make major changes in your life like taking on a big project at work or moving to a new place or changing jobs.  Avoid anything that can add to the stress levels. 

Don’t hesitate to seek professional counseling

Everyone is different but there are some common signs that show professional psychological support may be required. Here are just a few:

  • You are constantly thinking about your fertility treatment and struggling to cope with daily routines
  • Strained relationships make you want to isolate yourself from others.
  • You are experiencing strong feelings of guilt, anxiety, or depression
  • Persistent sadness and tearfulness

At Xenith Advanced Fertility Centre, we can assure couples that they will receive the psychological support needed during any kind of infertility treatment with us. Maintaining mental health during fertility problems translates to having a calm, joyful spirit – this is really half the battle won! Let’s work together to make your experience as comfortable as possible. Visit or schedule an appointment at Xenith.

Second Opinion