Once you have made the decision to proceed with IVF,  one of the most important factors which predicts success is the age of the egg and unfortunately we cannot change this factor unless of course we elect to use a donor egg. There are other factors which affect success and if one or more of these factors apply to you, you can sometimes more than double your chances of success by correcting one or more of these factors.

These factors include having a body mass index <25, stopping smoking, developing the mind body connection, taking optimal nutritional supplements, evaluating acupuncture as an additional boost to fertility, eliminating any hydrosalpinx that may be present and assembling your medical records

Following a diet free of gluten and dairy products (except yogurt) and adding Chlorophyll or wheat grass on a daily basis will decrease inflammation in your system and this may increase egg production and quality as well as promote good implantation.

  • Body mass index and its effect on in vitro fertilization pregnancy rates – A woman’s weight can affect her fertility. We know that at both extremes, very thin and obese, that there can be disruption of the normal process of regular, consistent ovulation, and anovulation can often result. Body mass index, or BMI, is an index that gives us an indication of whether a person is normal weight, overweight or obese. The BMI factors in a person’s weight as well as their height to give an overall “index”. A high BMI indicates obesity. In the United States, the percent of the population that is overweight (BMI > 25) or obese (BMI > 30) has increased dramatically over the last 20 years. For men, 59% are overweight, while 20% of the total population is obese. Fewer women are overweight (51%) but more are obese (25%). If you are overweight or obese, it is important to get appropriate medical help to reduce your weight to improve your fertility outcome and avoid the long-term complications associated with excess body fat.
  • This graph shows the relationship between body mass index BMI and ongoing beyond 12 weeks IVF pregnancy rates for patients doing IVF themselves


  • Stop smoking – According to the Surgeon General of the United States women smokers, like men smokers, are at increased risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and pulmonary disease, but women smokers also experience unique risks related to menstrual and reproductive function. Women who smoke have an increased risk for conception delay and for primary and secondary infertility. Also women who smoke may have a modest increase in risk for ectopic pregnancy and spontaneous abortion. Additionally, women who are exposed to second-hand smoke experience just as much of a negative influence as active smokers.
  • Fertility Supplements – It is believed that nutritional and lifestyle changes can increase the chances of conception. Reproductive organs are highly susceptible to free radicals or oxidative damage from environmental toxins and natural aging. A balanced, nutritional diet and nutritional supplements with high levels of antioxidants can help reverse some of this damage. Visit to learn more.
  • Mind/Body – Mind and Body medicine combines modern science with psychology, nutrition, exercise and stress management.  At Zouves Fertility Center we believe in the connection between the mind and the body and the beneficial effects of aligning these for optimal results with our fertility treatment.  Mind and Body techniques are aimed at helping to reduce stress and promote positive attitudes. This has been shown to prevent illness and help a person improve the quality of their life while undergoing medical treatment. We encourage our patients to examine their habits and lifestyle in general, paying attention to the elimination of obvious dangerous behavior like smoking or inappropriate alcohol consumption, while evaluating diet and exercise and dealing with stress. We are just beginning to appreciate the concept of wellness and to realize the power of the Mind over the Body in all facets of our daily health especially in the area of fertility. We encourage patients to practice yoga which promotes physical as well as emotional well-being assisting in the alignment of the Mind and Body. We also encourage patients to evaluate the addition of acupuncture with the IVF treatment. A recent study has shown that pregnancy outcome improved from 26% to 42% in each of 80 patients who were randomized to treatment with or without acupuncture within the same IVF program.
  • Acupuncture– We urge our patients to look into alternative services such as acupuncture, Chinese herbs and yoga that may reduce their stress and decrease anxiety, allowing them to regain the balance that has been lost in their struggle with infertility. Recent medical research has shown that acupuncture can improve the outcome of Assisted Reproductive Techniques by improving ovarian response and uterine receptivity. Currently there are two published protocols being used to treat infertility. Of the two studies, the Swedish protocol is preferred, having been used with IVF patients with good results. The Swedish protocol requires eight treatments, twice a week for four weeks, beginning the month prior to the transfer of the fertilized eggs. The more recently published study of the German protocol requires two treatments at the time of embryo transfer, one appointment is scheduled the day before embryo transfer and the other is scheduled the day of or the day after embryo transfer. Many patients are choosing to combine the two protocols for maximum benefit.  Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs work together like surgery and anesthesia, one supports the other.  Herbs have always been an integral part of Chinese medicine and play an important role in the physiological mechanisms involved with the uterus, hormones, egg development and general health when preparing for pregnancy and during pregnancy. Herbs may also be important in helping to prevent miscarriage. It is important that the patient consult a licensed acupuncturist who has the proper training to know which formulas are beneficial and appropriate and which herbs are not. Traditional Chinese medicine consists of acupuncture and herbal therapy to treat and prevent disease. This effective form of medicine has been practiced by almost a fourth of the world’s population for five thousand years. Evidence of Traditional Chinese Medicine treating infertility dates back to 11AD.
  • Gluten/Dairy and Chloropyhll – Deleting gluten and dairy from the diet while adding chlorophyll  or wheat grass on a daily basis may improve reproductive performance both for natural conception and IVF.
  • Hydrosalpinges– Any patient, who has had a history of tubal disease, symptomatic or just on testing, should be sure that there are no residual blocked fallopian tubes that fill up with fluid and are called a hydrosalpinx. When there is a hydrosalpinx present, your chance of success with IVF will be decreased by 60 percent. It is possible to clip or remove one or two hydrosalpinges thereby reversing this 60 percent decrease completely.

Assemble your medical records– It is very important to maintain control over your fertility records and we strongly recommend that you contact programs or doctors who have rendered fertility services to you in the past and have them send copies of your fertility records directly to you. This way you can keep a master copy for yourself and send copies to us. By doing this ahead of time, we can then make maximum use of the time during our consultation, allowing us to decide what tests still need to be done and then moving on to options for treatment.

Form to Request Transfer of Your Medical Records to Zouves Fertility Center (PDF)

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