IVF: Lifestyle Changes

After our first failed IVF cycle and the news that my eggs were fragile, I knew that it would be important to figure out why these results had occurred. We don’t have any female infertility in my family, so the news came as quite a shock. My mom bought me this book – It Starts With the Egg – and I was fascinated as I started reading. If you are going through infertility on any level, get this book. The author talks about so many different factors that I had never realized can affect egg quality. What you put in your body is so important! Once we understood these realities, we set out on a quest to do whatever we could to improve our numbers. Over the next two years, we completely overhauled our lifestyles. I don’t want to scare you, but I do think that all of the steps we took had a positive impact on our successful cycle last month. Here is the overview:


  • No plastics: We got rid of everything in our house that had plastic in it unless we were sure it was BPA free. And I mean everything! We bought a new Breville BPA free coffee maker, threw out all our plastic food storage containers and switched to glass, and got rid of our Tervis Tumblers (except for the recent models that are BPA free).
  • Cookware: When we got married, we registered for non-stick cookware. Not good! We gave all of it away and invested in All-Clad stainless steel cookware.
  • Cleaning supplies: We got rid of everything that wasn’t all natural. Initially, I started using Honest Company products for everything, but I realized quickly that these products don’t clean very well. There are lots of good, all-natural brands at your local grocery store.
  • No microwave: This one was shocking to me. I had no idea how much damage using the microwave can cause to your body. I can honestly say that we have used it only a few times in the last two years. Forgoing the microwave makes cooking a bit more challenging, but we really don’t miss it.
  • Toiletries: We made the switch to all-natural toiletries too: soap, shampoo, lotion, deodorant, toothpaste, etc. I had no idea that a huge amount of chemicals are absorbed through your skin….even more than from what you eat.
  • Groceries: We completely changed our diets. No more MSG. Very little processed food (only organic). Eating organic is very expensive and it’s overwhelming to examine food labels all of the time. My gold standard became the following: If they sell it at Earth Fare, then it’s fine.
  • Supplements: I can’t even begin to tell you how many nasty supplements we have had to gag down over the past two years. But I am so confident that they have helped. I found the Natural Fertility Shop early on in the process and it’s amazing! You can search the site at the top left-hand corner according to your issue and find the list of recommended supplements. Of course, they are all natural. We took the full list of egg and sperm health supplements every day for about two years prior to our second cycle. There is also a really helpful fertility diet listed on the site.
  • No alcohol and no caffeine: Blake and I gave up both of these items cold turkey in June – 4 months before our cycle. For me, giving up caffeine was one of the hardest things I’ve done. I haven’t had a soft drink since before our last cycle two years ago, but I love me some coffee! The first 7 days were terrible and included raging headaches. But once I turned the corner, I have felt better than ever. I really don’t see myself ever going back.


There are so many more helpful tips in the book – It Starts with the Egg. I strongly recommend buying it because it helped me learn a lot about both my body and Blake’s. Reading the book is how I found out about Dr. Schoolcraft from CCRM. The author mentions his groundbreaking research several times.


Making lifestyle changes and sticking with them is so hard (and expensive). But, I can tell you, as we sit on the other side of our second cycle, the challenge was so worth it! We both feel so much better, and you can’t put a price tag on that result.


More next week. Keep fighting, my friends!

Lots of love,

Megan Smalley

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