Most of you reading this article have patiently sat in a fertility clinic waiting room, maybe for an hour, maybe even for two. Maybe that’s why waiting rooms are so comfortable and decked out with fancy coffee machines. Your wait is likely to be longer than a nurse or a reproductive endocrinologist will spend on the consultation itself!
The IVF Project was born out of the need to ensure women and men could access an individualized exercise and nutrition prescription to improve their fertility. Nutrition and exercise can make a crucial difference if you are trying to conceive, especially if you are trying through fertility treatments.
I spoke with founder Dr Cecilia Kitic recently about her own fertility journey and the research she has been doing on this fascinating topic. Having struggled with fertility issues, Dr Kitic was frustrated by the lack of credible advice given to women and men around exercise, diet and reproductive treatments.
"I often wondered why women and men were not provided access to an exercise physiologist or a dietitian at their fertility clinics and wondered how people were getting the right information, advice and prescription to improve their chances,” she said.
“As an exercise physiologist I prescribe exercise to improve the quality of life and outcomes for healthy individuals and those with clinical conditions. With a PhD in Exercise Immunology and over 20 years of research experience, and university lecturing in exercise prescription, I know and see how beneficial lifestyle change can be to fertility treatment outcome."
Dr. Kitic says that appropriately prescribed exercise and diet can improve the success of fertility treatments and everyone should know how exercise and nutrition can impact upon fertility but most importantly, everyone should be able to access evidence based clinical exercise prescription and dietary advice to improve their chances of conception.
She goes on to say that engaging in exercise and diet modification before undergoing fertility treatments greatly improves the chance of conception. Eating better and exercising reduces DNA damage in sperm and eggs, improves endometrial thickness, increases fertilization and improves the chance of implantation and live birth following assisted reproductive treatments.
Undergoing fertility treatment is a huge emotional, physical and financial investment, says Dr. Kitic. "I wanted to reduce this burden and enhance the reproductive journey of anyone out there struggling to conceive. It takes an exercise physiologist to prescribe exercise for an individual with a clinical condition, such as infertility, and dietary advice for clinical conditions should be provided by a dietitian. Reproductive treatments involve different cycles and different drugs, and every woman and man has his or her own reproductive journey that needs to be accommodated. The IVF Project was designed to share our clinical expertise with anyone in the world undergoing assisted reproductive treatments by delivering our service online."