Causes & Treatment

My real-time IVF prep plan – Part 1: supplements

Jessie Day & Eloise Edington  |  20 Jul 2023


My round-5 IVF preparation checklist (the supplements edition)

When it comes to IVF preparation – for a fresh or frozen embryo transfer, and right across her 30s – TRB’s founder and CEO Eloise Edington knows her stuff. Having been here four times already, and now prepping for her fifth cycle, Eloise sat down for a quick catch up before her flight to New York, where she’ll be in the care of the amazing Weill Cornell Medicine team. 

First on our agenda, the supplements she’s taken while preparing for IVF. And, which ones she’ll start, stop or carry on with across this fifth cycle. 

Preparing for IVF at age 38 – it’s all about egg health (& a few other things!)

Before we dive in, here’s a bit about me, and my fertility journey. Aged 38, this will be our fifth go at IVF – so far we’ve had: 

  • 1 failed transfer – our first-ever transfer of two day 3 embryos, March 2016
  • 1 successful transfer – giving us our eldest daughter Poppy from a FET of two day-5 blastocysts, June 2016
  • 1 successful transfer – giving us twins Hettie and Charlie from a fresh IVF transfer of two day-5 blastocysts, January 2018
  • 1 post-transfer chemical pregnancy – resulting in an early miscarriage, March 2023

For this next cycle, we’ll be using the same donor’s sperm – read up on our donor sperm journey for all the whys and hows there! – and going for a fresh embryo transfer. 

Things have changed a lot though, since doing IVF for the first time when I was 30. Back then, I had so much less understanding about the process – what it would involve and the best ways to optimise for success. I stopped drinking for around three months before, took a prenatal and that was about it! 

But with age comes, not just a lower AMH and all of the usual things, but real experience. I know a lot of what to expect, how my body tends to respond and feel, and have had the privilege to work with so many incredible partners across the fertility space, since founding The Ribbon Box (formerly Fertility Help Hub). Thanks to them, I have an IVF toolkit ready to go

Over this brand new mini series, we’ll be covering my IVF preparation plan. From supplements and superfoods to what I eat in a day, and tests to support treatment. I’ve worked with expert fertility nutritionist Melanie Brown on many aspects of my prep – big, huge thanks to Melanie! – and would highly recommend booking a chat with her for any TTC nutrition support you may need.

Key on my IVF prep agenda is: 

  • egg health (my AMH has decreased over my 30s, so it’s all about the quality, now!)
  • anti-inflammatory support 
  • cellular anti-ageing

This is IVF at 38. Let’s go! 

THE PRE-CONCEPTION & OVULATION SUPPORT SUPPLEMENT: Ovum

With egg health top of the agenda at age 38, I’m looking for rocket fuel here. And that’s exactly what Ovum provides, in their Pre-Conception and Ovulation Support Supplement. The bioavailability is mega – my body has to jump through fewer hoops to get the crucial micronutrients it needs for optimum fertility – and the formulation packs maximum potency. 

I don’t mess around when it comes to a prenatal, and this really is the most scientifically advanced fertility formula out there. They update that formula based on the latest available research too, so you know you’re getting cutting-edge, every time. It’s also particularly effective for people with confirmed low ovarian reserve, and/or a history of early miscarriage. 

ovum-ivf-preparation-pregnancy-tests

Superstar ingredients to watch out for include methylfolate (the MTHFR-Friendly type), special formula CoQ10 and a powerhouse antioxidant blend. 

It’s worth noting that: 

  • Ovum’s prenatal provides all the vitamin D I need while prepping for egg collection, at 100 mcg of vitamin D3 per serving. If you’re on a different prenatal which lacks the required level of vitamin D, I go for the Zita West spray, which is super-easy to take. 
  • I’ve also added extra folate to my IVF preparation list, with Solgar’s Folate (as Metafolin) option. At age 38 my body needs more of this essential micronutrient for healthy conception and foetal development, so this is a smart way of getting a targeted, bioavailable boost, without overdoing it on other ingredients! 

Team TRB bonus: Get 15% off any Ovum product with code TRB15.

THE OMEGA-3: Life & Soul

If you’ve been on a fertility journey for any length of time, you’ll probably know about the benefits of omega-3. In fact, it’s recommended across the board these days – from NHS surgeries to private clinics – as an essential for preconception health. 

Specifically for IVF (and conception over age 35), omega-3 is fantastic at protecting our DNA from oxidative damage – hitting on my personal focus for optimised egg health. And, it plays a critical part in healthy brain development in a growing baby, during pregnancy. 

For omega-3, my personal favourite is Life & Soul’s Pure Omega-3 Liquid. Recommended as the gold standard years ago by my fertility nutritionist and friend Melanie Brown, it’s their original (and most potent) formula, boosting my intake with over 10 times more omega-3 per teaspoon than the well-known high street brands. 

Team TRB bonus: Join their new loyalty programme, plus get 15% off subscriptions.

Bare-biology-ivf-preparation-checklist

Knowing the benefits – and that I rarely hit the two to three portions of oily fish recommended per week by health authorities around the world – I take this one for fertility and and in the build up to egg collection, then usually move on to a capsule option.

THE PSYLLIUM HUSK: Zita West

The overriding aim here is to get a really good soluble fibre boost, and psyllium husk is the superstar in this department! It feeds our ‘good’ gut bacteria – read up on the gut health and fertility connection for the research and how-to’s – ultimately supporting regular bowel movements and healthy oestrogen metabolism. 

You can add psyllium husk – or your soluble fibre option of choice – to breakfast yogurt bowls and smoothies. Zita West does an amazing one which comes as capsules – I either take them just as they are, or open them up and pop them into an IVF-friendly smoothie. And because they’re capsules, I know exactly how much I’m getting – anything to make life simple! 

zita-west-ivf-success-tips

If we get a BFP after our two week wait, I’ll carry on taking these into pregnancy – they’re also super-easy to order in the USA, which is an extra help during my IVF in NYC. 

Team TRB bonus: Get 10% off any Zita West product* with code TRB10 (US and UK).

THE CoQ10: Zita West

If we’re talking prenatal egg quality, we’re talking CoQ10 (you’ll sometimes see it termed as ‘ubiquinol’, too). This superstar micronutrient is becoming much more standard as a recommended supplement from medical teams, and for good reason. It’s essential for cell growth and maintenance, providing both mitochondrial and antioxidant support. And, crucially, our levels decline naturally with age. 

So, topping up can be key – especially when building towards fertility treatment. Up until my egg collection I’ll be taking Kaneka Ubiquinol, the premium CoQ10 supplement from my go-to for fertility nutrition, team Zita West.

In terms of really optimising for CoQ10 fertility success – and bang for your buck – Kaneka Ubiquinol is one of the world’s most researched and recognised CoQ10 options, and super bioavailable – helping my body absorb everything it needs. 

Again, Zita West products are super-easy to order in the USA, giving me one less thing to worry about while I’m in NYC for IVF.

Team TRB bonus: Get 10% off any Zita West product* with code TRB10 (US and UK).

THE FISETIN: Time Health

You’ll probably have come across the micronutrients mentioned so far, but fisetin? I was none-the-wiser too, until I did a bit of prep and digging. Again, this is tapping into the latest research on prenatal egg quality, and a supplement I’m building into my regimen pre-egg collection. 

Fisetin is an anti-ageing compound, and part of a broader family known as ‘senolytics’. Research shows that these compounds may help to promote longevity, targeting senescent (ageing) cells and making way for the newest, healthiest cells. Senescent cells can often remain in the body, rather than dying off, and fisetin could help to ‘clear the debris’, so to speak. 

time-health-things-to-do-to-make-ivf-successful-els-fisetin

I’ve gone for the ultra-pure Fisetin option from Time Health, who I’ve loved for years. This one is a high-strength 98% pure formula, so I know I’m getting the potency required, without any binders, fillers or additives. 

Team TRB bonus: Get 15% off any Time Health product with code RB15.

THE MELATONIN: Nature Made®

Melatonin is well-known as a sleep support – and I need every ounce of sleep I can get, regardless of TTC! – but did you know it’s also a powerful antioxidant? It can be a really dynamic tool for improving and preserving egg health and quality, with small but relevant recent findings showing that melatonin can be effective in

  • re-balancing intrafollicular oxidative status
  • improving oocyte quality
  • enhancing IVF rates in unexplained infertility patients

I go for Nature Made® Melatonin, at 3 mg per tablet, taking it as soon as my IVF cycle starts in NYC, and stopping after egg collection.

nature-made-ivf-success-tips-diet

THE PROBIOTIC: Garden of Life

Back to gut health, and this time it’s for a high-strength probiotic, which for me is a fertility non-negotiable. From anti-inflammatory benefits and vaginal health to the oestrogen metabolism we covered earlier under psyllium husk, a good probiotic can transform some of the most crucial aspects of our reproductive health. 

With Melanie Brown’s help I’ve learned to prioritise numbers and sourcing when it comes to my probiotics, and Ultimate Care from Garden of Life packs 100 billion CFU in every dose, across 34 clinically studied bacteria strains. They’re specifically designed to replenish gut health, and squeeze in Bulgarian yoghurt concentrate wild kefir grains and scobies, for good measure. 

best-supplements-for ivf-success-raw-probiotics-garden-of-life

The Garden of Life range is also super-popular in the US, making it easy to get hold of while I’m in NYC for IVF, if I need to stock up.

THE EGG-QUALITY BOOST: Time Health

Supporting my nutrition focus in preparing for IVF, Melanie recommended I had a look at a couple of good all-round blends for a real egg health boost. For me, it’s Time Health, and specifically their Longevity formula. 

Along with prenatal egg quality, this blend supports cellular energy (all that dividing and multiplying needed for conception takes a lot of work!), plus more anti-ageing activity and antioxidant levels. It also provides a sirtuin boost, supporting healthy ageing. 

time-health-things-to-do-to-make-ivf-successful-longevity

Three ingredients to get excited about here include: 

  • UTHEVER NMN (Nicotinamide Mononucleotide) for cellular health, energy and anti-ageing support
  • resveratrol a powerful antioxidant
  • quercetin – anti-inflammatory, anti-ageing and antioxidant 

Again, I’ll stop this one once we’re through the egg collection process. 

Team TRB bonus: Get 15% off any Time Health product with code RB15.

THE MITOCHONDRIA BOOST: Coyne Healthcare

Finally, do read up on mitochondria – in basic terms, our oocyte batteries – and why this is such a crucial aspect of our overall fertility, especially as we age. 

For this, I was looking for a blend which included CoQ10 (a known support and boost for our mitochondria), plus PQQ (pyrroloquinoline quinone) which is an antioxidant and proven to support healthy mitochondrial function

The Coyne Healthcare Biomax PQQ with CoQ10® is fabulous, and my first choice for a targeted mitochondrial boost. It can help to double CoQ10 levels within three weeks too, making it a helpful addition when preparing for IVF without lots of notice. 

Again, I’ll stop this one after egg collection (and let you know what I carry on taking!)

That’s it! My IVF preparation supplement hot list, all of which are packed in my carry-on for NYC ahead of my fresh round of IVF. My enormous thanks to expert fertility nutritionist Melanie Brown, who’s supported me across so much of my TTC and pregnancy journey, helping me make super-informed choices (and still enjoy delicious food!) while prepping for IVF. 

Watch out for part 2, where we’ll be covering all-things IVF superfoods, and which blends make it into my ultimate IVF prep smoothie. 

All products in this article have been selected by us. While we only ever recommend products we actually use and love, we may make commission on some of them.

*TRB10 is valid once per customer only. Excludes subscription purchase. This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. Zita West terms of the site apply.

Want to receive more great articles like this every day? Subscribe to our mailing list

SUBSCRIBE

Follow Us


WIN