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IVF Myths: Fact Versus Fiction

Anyone who has had experience with IVF has likely heard some of the myths surrounding things to do to encourage a successful transfer. Whether it's wearing warm socks, eating pineapple, or inverting ourselves, most of us would love to do anything that might give us a slight advantage when it comes to achieving a healthy transfer. So what are the myths out there and do any of them truly help?

🍍Eating Pineapple: this is probably one of the most popular ones. Many people will swear that eating the core of a pineapple will increase the chances of the embryo implanting. This is because the core of the pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain. Bromelain has been indicated to have anti-inflammatory properties but there has been no conclusive evidence to support the claim that eating it will have any effect on implantation. That being said, I lived in Hawaii during my surrogacy journeys, and you can bet that I was eating all the pineapple I could!

🥤Drinking Pomegranate Juice: obtaining an optimal uterine lining is a key step when approaching embryo transfer. Many believe that drinking pomegranate juice can help increase the blood flow to your uterus, which in turn will help thicken its lining. Again, there has been no concrete evidence that drinking pomegranate juice will be beneficial when trying to achieve that perfect lining. It is, however, high in antioxidants, which can be helpful with inflammation.

Foot wearing a sock with a white pineapple on the foot
A pair of our lucky transfer socks

🧦Wearing warm socks: this myth stems from the idea that keeping your feet warm will in turn increase your blood flow and circulation aiding in the process of implantation. Although it is fun to wear your "lucky transfer socks," there is no scientific basis for wearing socks to increase the likelihood of a successful transfer.

🌰Eating Brazil Nuts: the science behind this myth is due to the fact that Brazil nuts are high in selenium. Selenium has shown to possibly have positive impacts on fertility, especially healthy egg follicles. However, there is not enough data to suggest any impact on embryo transfer outcomes. There have been studies on selenium toxicity stating it is essential not to consume too much selenium. With their high selenium content, one should limit their consumption to only 1-2 a day and always consult a physician before adding anything new to your diet.

🦵Putting Your Legs Up: we've all seen this in shows or movies, when a character is trying to conceive and flips themselves upside down and puts their legs up in order to help fertilization and implantation. Some believe that this too will increase the blood flow to the uterus and aid in a successful transfer. It might be fun to change positions while resting, but unfortunately, there have been no studies to suggest that this helps successful implantation in any way.

Woman sitting on bed surrounded by food smiling
On my bedrest orders after a successful transfer

So, what does one do to increase the chances of a successful transfer? The most important thing a gestational carrier can do to increase the chances of a successful transfer is to follow her doctor's protocol. The reproductive endocrinologists are the experts and will give you what you need to have the best chance at success. However, if you enjoy pineapple and pomegranate juice, feel free to indulge and give it a shot.

My last piece of advice: do your best to relax and enjoy the exciting time during your embryo transfer. This picture was taken of me while on my bedrest orders after a successful transfer. My IPs wanted to ensure I was fed and hydrated (notice I went for the cookies 🍪). That transfer resulted in a beautiful healthy baby boy, which had absolutely nothing to do with what I ate or wore. Remember, you've got this!

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