Let’s be real for second: IVF sucks. In every way.
Sure, it’s a scientific wonder, and it’s amazing it even exists, and it’s helped thousands of people start families who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to (myself included). So, fine, it’s got that going for it.
But the worst part is, you can put yourself through all of the pain, agony, and expense of IVF, and it’s still not a guarantee.
So for me, when I went through it the first time, I researched everything — ev-er-y-thing — I could do to improve my odds. If it didn’t work, I wanted to know I’d done everything in my power to have the best odds possible.
But then it did work! So naturally, when it came time to transfer again for baby #2, I had to repeat everything exactly as I did it the first time, just in case.
…Just in case it wasn’t due to my brilliant doctors and nurses and embryologists and God and all the people who contribute to making babies in this crazy world of infertility.
And then it worked, again! So, naturally, now I have to share my tricks with all of you. Because maybe I’ve uncovered the secret to 100% success rates…
Okay, I definitely haven’t done that. But these are all easy things to do during and after your embryo transfer, that, at the very least, will keep your mind busy during that agonizing 10-day wait, and help you feel like you’re able to do something to contribute to your own baby-making.
1. Lucky Socks
Find yourself some lucky socks. A pair that makes you smile, makes you feel warm & fuzzy, and preferably that actually are warm and fuzzy. My doctor has specific (ugly, grey, drab) socks she makes us wear for the transfer, so I just put those on over my lucky socks. The transfer room is cold anyway, so you won’t regret having multiple layers of socks on.
2. McDonald’s French Fries
Why should I even have to explain this one? This is your guilt-free excuse to eat McDonald’s french fries. Don’t ask questions, just take it! Honestly, I don’t know why this is a thing, and I don’t know why it has to be McDonald’s, but it just does. You’re supposed to eat the fries on the way home from your transfer. For my first fresh transfer, I actually mentioned it to my doctor (to make sure she didn’t shriek and say “dear God don’t put that in your body after I just put this beautiful embryo in it.”). She laughed, and said if nothing else, the salt would help with my OHSS—so there you have it, doctor-approved.
3. Pineapple Core
Okay, this one actually has some science behind it. Buy a whole pineapple—not precut chunks, they don’t have the good stuff in it—peel it, and slice it horizontally into 5 rings. Eat one ring, including that nasty, hard core, each day, starting the day of your transfer, for 5 days. Pineapples contain an enzyme called bromelain, which is known to reduce inflammation and act as a mild blood thinner, which some think helps with implantation. It’s most concentrated in the core, which is why that part is so important.
Fun fact: some people (like yours truly) have a mild allergic reaction to bromelain which causes your mouth to burn and tingle. This part of the process was actual torture for me, but I powered through because I am stubborn as hell and was convinced this would make or break my cycle. If you have this reaction too, drink lots of water before and after eating the pineapple. Which brings me to my next point…
4. Water, Water, Water
Drink an absurd amount of water. Just guzzle it all day long. At least 80-100 ounces per day. This one is medically grounded, too. The more hydrated you are, the warmer and cushier all your organs and innards are for that little embaby, and the more all those hormones you’re taking can be evenly distributed throughout your body.
5. Warm Feet
Finally, keep those feet warm! My last transfer was in July – in Texas – and yet, I wore socks 100% of the time during my two week wait. Closed-toed shoes, fuzzy socks, and slippers around the house, 24/7. Except the shower, because that would be weird. The theory behind this one is that most of your body heat leaves through your feet, so if your body is having to send blood flow to your extremities to keep you warm, that’s taking away from the blood flow to your uterus and your embaby. Warm feet = warm uterus.
Is any of this stuff real? I have no clue. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ But it made me feel like I could do something to affect the outcome of my cycles, and it turns out, even pretend control helps a control freak throughout this process.
Do you have any other IVF superstitions or tricks? Share them in the comments below!