A warm welcome to Dr Vivienne!

We are delighted to welcome the amazing Dr Vivienne Hall to our IVF team, working alongside Dr George Ndukwe and Dr Simone Rofena.

Dr Hall trained in medicine at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London and specialises in pre-implantation genetics and the management of low and critically low ovarian reserve. She joined the team as she believes the holistic approach and personalised care plans at the clinic give the best possible chance of success.

Here we learn a little more about Dr Hall and her plans at the Zita West Clinic.

ZW:We are really thrilled to welcome you to the team, what was it that most appealed to you about joining the Zita West Clinic?

VH:Well, let me start by saying that I am also thrilled to have joined the Zita West Clinic. I think the thing that excites me most is the I am going to be able to get to know the patients well and give them individualised care that is specifically tailored to them. I’m also really excited by your whole approach to nutrition and the holistic aspects of fertility.

ZW:  How did you start in the IVF world?

VH: I started way back in 1989. I was doing general obstetrics and gynaecology in a busy district general hospital and the infertility part, which was very basic at the time, always fascinated me because it involved a little bit of surgery, a little bit of genetics, a little bit of immunology and a little bit of general medicine. I always thought, what a fascinating subject this is. And each couple who comes along is always so interesting and there’s always something you can do to help them. So I always find that each couple, every new consultation is something fascinating and I can really get involved in helping them and the family.

ZW: Yes, you do form deep bonds when you help people regardless of the outcome.

VH: Yes, I would hate to be in a position where I didn’t look forward to going to work every day, and I do! It’s a privilege to look after these patients and hopefully be successful for most of them.

ZW: What do you think makes IVF successful?

VH: Attention to detail is absolutely key. The patients’ own wellbeing – nutritional and emotional – is also very important. Obviously, added to that, an excellent laboratory that again has a real focus on attention to detail.

ZW: One of the things here is that nutrition and lifestyle is part of our IVF package because it’s really important to us that women prepare nutritionally. Women know everything about fertility and diets, but they don’t really know a lot about nutrition. One of the questions that is always asked is ‘Is there anything I can do to improve the quality of my eggs?’. I know a woman is born with all the eggs she is ever going to possess, but there is a lot you can do around the lifestyle and the environment the eggs are growing in. It’s interesting as well because, the questionnaire we have here, looking at digestion and the gut, I think, is a huge factor in fertility and it’s interesting that the whole gut area is one of your interests.

VH: Yes, it all came about when the Human Genome Project was done. What came out of it was the ability to analyse huge quantities of bacterial DNA in the gut and it seems that the bacteria you have in your gut can impact on all sorts of aspects of your health – immune processors and inflammation and all the things that can have a significant effect on natural fertility. So, we know the presence of the wrong amounts of bacteria can have an effect on things such as obstetrics and miscarriage, pre-term labour and post-caesarean. I think, what will become more important is actually seeing what’s going on in The Human Microbiome and The Vaginal Microbiome and to see if that has an effect on IVF and pregnancy success, as well as the reduction of miscarriages. So, I’m hugely interested in educating patients about their own gut flora and how they can improve it quite simply by using probiotics and that sort of thing and analysing when we think there is a serious problem with the microbiome. That might lead us to correlate things we know are important here in Natural Killer Cells in immune system problems with a simple realignment of the gut microbiome.

ZW: Are there any new things you’d like to work on while you’re here?

VH: I’ve always been very interested in the genetic aspects of IVF in patients for whom it’s appropriate and that continues to go from strength to strength. I’m very excited to be working with Dr George and Dr Simone to do some more about immunology. Despite the fact that it’s quite controversial, there’s a lot going on there that we need to clarify and take forward. The nutritional aspects and the support aspects too are things I’m very interested in – the patient actually being ready to do IVF and taking time to get the patient prepared properly for something which is probably very important, not to mention expensive, and potentially quite devastating when it doesn’t work.

 ZW: For a lot of women they have a pet thing, I want this sort of IVF or that sort of IVF. What do you say to those couples?

 VH: I know a lot of couples come along with preconceived ideas, either because they’ve had treatment elsewhere or they’ve read around a lot, which is highly commendable. But I think you have to use your experience and skill to do what you can and do what they want if you can, but be strong enough to say, I really don’t think that is what you should be doing, I’d recommend this instead. So, I very much take on board what they’d like to do, but possibly modify it to something that is most likely to give them success first time round.

 To book a consultation with Dr Vivienne Hall contact the reception team on 020 3613 2267

Vegan diets and fertility

Increasingly women are becoming vegan for a lifestyle choice, but my concern here is for fertility. You need to manage your diet really carefully to get the right amount of protein as it’s not only your hormones and the neurotransmitters in your brain that need protein – eggs and sperm need it, too. High-quality protein, such as from lean meat and poultry, as well as fish, eggs and soya beans, contains all eight essential amino acids. These are biological catalysts that enable protein to break down and become what the body needs – be that muscle or other tissue, egg, sperm, neurotransmitter or hormone. Your body can’t manufacture these amino acids for itself (which is why they are essential), so they must come from your diet. Include one portion (about the size of your fist) of protein in every meal. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you’ll need a full range of plant proteins to ensure that you get all the essential amino acids.

Beans, leafy greens, pulses, nuts and seeds are all good  sources, and I’d also encourage you to use protein powders – including hemp, pea and sprouted-seed-based powders. Finally, be aware that you may be more prone to other nutritional deficiencies that can affect fertility – including low levels of iodine, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12 and vitamin D. Supplement with a multivitamin and -mineral formula to make sure that you keep all your vitamin and mineral levels up, and you may also need to take a specific vitamin B12 supplement, too.

Pregnant from IVF… What next?

In this week’s Fertility Show, I’m talking about what happens after becoming pregnant from IVF.

Many of the women I see have had years of fertility issues, so naturally they know all about fertility, but not a huge amount about pregnancy.  So once you become pregnant from IVF, what do you do next?

It is important to try and manage your mindset through this difficult but exciting period so that pregnancy joy doesn’t give way to anxiety. Here are 3 tips to help you in the next steps of your journey:

  • Look after yourself: Taking time to rest and take it easy is essential in the first few months of pregnancy. Learning to relax as much as possible is the best way to take care of you and your baby.
  • Take care of your mind set: Try to find ways to stop the worry and anxiety you’re feeling. This could involve looking at deep breathing, meditation and counselling if you feel you need additional help.Also make sure you are registered with a GP early on so you know you have back up in case something goes wrong.  
  • Give into your cravings:  When you were going through IVF you were probably eating good things to nourish yourself, and when you become pregnant this shouldn’t stop. You might start having cravings for carbs and foods that aren’t always good for you. But it’s important that you give in to what your body craves because you will need carbs for energy and your diet will improve as time goes on.   

For weekly tips, advice and wisdom on natural fertility and IVF, subscribe to our Fertility Show on YouTube.

Book now

Consultations are available at our Clinic in London, or our visiting clinics in Dublin and Cork or via Video Conferencing from the comfort of your own home.

Connect with us

Call us on 0207 224 0017 or email us at clinics@zitawest.com

 

There’s More To IVF Than Eggs, Sperm & Embryos

This week on The Fertility Show, our brilliant Medical Director Dr George Ndukwe explains how there is a lot more to IVF than we might think – healthy sperm, eggs and embryos are just the beginning…

Watch the video below:

Here’s a brief summary of what Dr George Ndukwe says:

“Right from the outset a couple must have the best sperm and egg possible, so preparation for IVF is vital. We often forget that it is important that the whole woman is looked at and treated, after all she is trying to get pregnant. So it is really important to support her before, during and after IVF. If an IVF cycle fails we try and see the woman for a review as soon as possible and a couple can always call the clinic to talk to us about any fears they have. To sum up care, empathy and support are as necessary for a successful IVF cycle as healthy sperm, eggs and embryos.”

For weekly tips, advice and wisdom on natural fertility and IVF, subscribe to our Fertility Show on YouTube.

Book now

Consultations are available at our Clinic in London, or our visiting clinics in Dublin and Cork or via Video Conferencing from the comfort of your own home.

Connect with us

Call us on 0207 224 0017 or email us at clinics@zitawest.com

 

What is the difference between IVF and ICSI?

In today’s episode of The Fertility Show, Dr Simone Rofena, our consultant in Reproductive Medicines is talking about how we choose between IVF and ICSI when we have an abnormal semen analysis. The main parameters we are considering are three things

  1.     Sperm count
  2.     Motility
  3.     Morphology

When is IVF the right answer?

IVF might be the best option when sperm count is low but motility and morphology are normal. With IVF we put sperm and eggs into contact with one another in a petri dish to facilitate fertilisation of egg and sperm. It’s better to go for IVF when possible as it allows a more natural selection of the best sperm to ideally fertilize the egg.

When is ICSI the right answer?

ICSI is the process when one single sperm is selected and injected into each egg to achieve fertilization. We would choose ICSI when motility or morphology are abnormal and it’s even very successful when the motility and morphology are severely impaired.

Book now

Consultations are now available at our Clinic in London, or visiting clinics in Dublin and Cork or via Video Conferencing from the comfort of your own home.

Connect with us

Call us on 0207 224 0017 or email at clinics@zitawest.com

 

5 Commonly Asked Questions About IVF

In today’s episode of The Fertility Show, I’m answering the top five questions we get asked about IVF. As always, you’ll find your cheat sheet below.

  1. Is IVF an Emotional Rollercoaster?

Certainly it can be (although not always), but if you are prepared from the outset, you can help manage your emotions. Some women feel tired and emotionally fragile during treatment so building in time for yourself, to sleep well and nourish yourself you can enhance your energy. Mindfulness, hypnotherapy and meditation apps can also help with worry.

2. Are IVF injections painful?

Some are more painful than others, but during treatment, we show all women how to use and administer drugs correctly. There is also always someone to ask and offer you support and extra guidance.

3. Can you exercise during IVF?

We recommend gentle exercise when going through IVF – if you’re doing lots of exercise it will be diverting the blood away from the pelvic area.

4. Can eggs be improved before the IVF process?

Yes. The environment in which eggs grow in is affected by lifestyle, so improving your diet, cutting out alcohol, taking a multivitamin and mineral that contain folate and Omega 3 taking and eating well can all help improve egg quality.

5. How long does an IVF cycle last?

Generally, the same length of time that a woman’s natural cycle lasts, is two quite intensive weeks and then the dreaded ‘two week wait’ in which you are waiting to find out of if you are pregnant or not. It’s really important to try to manage your time through a cycle to be sure you’re not in a hurry at the same time as going for tests and scans, and have space to manage the two week wait.  

For weekly tips, advice and wisdom on natural fertility and IVF, subscribe to our Fertility Show on YouTube.

Book now

Consultations are available at our Clinic in London, or our visiting clinics in Dublin and Cork or via Video Conferencing from the comfort of your own home.

Connect with us

Call us on 0207 224 0017 or email us at clinics@zitawest.com