How to Support a Friend Through IVF

It can be really hard to know what to do to support a friend going through IVF. If you haven’t been through the process yourself, it’s difficult to understand what support a friend may need. I find many people avoid being too involved because they don’t want to upset their friend or put too much pressure on them. However, I often hear from women how upset they feel that none of their friends have offered any support and this can feel isolating.

Keep in mind, that if someone has told you they are going through IVF, they most likely consider you a valuable friend. Many people (couples, singles and families) go through IVF without telling anyone often due to fear of failure.

The most important thing to remember after someone has told you they are going through IVF is, doing or saying nothing can never be better than doing or saying the wrong thing with the right intentions.

A few ways you can support a friend during IVF

  • get informed – find out what your friend will be going through and what dates are important. Websites for the fertility groups are helpful – Queensland Fertility Group, Monash or City Fertility
  • be curiously interested
  • ask how they’re feeling
  • ask about important dates
  • offer to be there for them to just listen
  • send an encouraging text message on important dates like egg pick up, transfer day and the day of the blood test
  • ask your friend what support they need if you’re unsure
  • be the reasoning voice when they tell you they read on an online forum that said eating 5 pineapple cores after transfer improves implantation (talking to your specialist about baby aspirin would be a better idea)

In the instance of your friend receiving bad news through their IVF cycle, including a lower number of eggs collected than expected, the delay of transfer due to over stimulation, a reduced number of fertilised eggs, embryos not growing or the final result of a negative blood test, offer them your support. Just give them a giant hug and listen.

I often find the offer of food very helpful too ;-)

It’s a really tough journey and they’ll be so grateful to have you apart it!

Female Friends

Healthy Coffee Consumption

I can absolutely understand why you could be confused about coffee and whether it is good for you or not. Almost weekly I see new articles looking into the health benefits or problems associated with coffee consumption.

As with most foods, adverse effects coffee consumption can have on your body is more to do with the amount you consume and how you consume it than any problems with the coffee itself.

From a Chinese medicine point of view, coffee can be good for the Liver in moderate amounts. The Liver loves bitter flavours so the bitterness in coffee can be tonifying for the Liver. Coffee can help the body detox from a diet that is reach and heavy and can assist in purging the bowels. However, too much coffee can heat the Liver and Stomach, drying up body fluids and draining the Kidneys of energy. This can result in dry mouth, coughing, tiredness, stomach ulcers, insomnia, hormone imbalance, constant headaches, digestive upset and emotional irritability. If you suffer from these symptoms already, reducing coffee may help.

Coffee is also a diuretic so you need to replace the water you lose with your morning cup of coffee. For every cup, you need to drink 2 cups of water to replace it (this is on top of your normal water consumption).

From a fertility and women’s health aspect, coffee increases cortisol and cortisol (the stress hormone) reduces progesterone in the body. So if you are trying to fall pregnant and have low progesterone levels, you should look at reducing coffee intake. Caffeine can also lower your iron absorption so try to avoid having a cup of coffee while eating red meat or iron supplementation especially if you already have low iron.

So my suggestions for healthy coffee consumption are these:

  • Have something in your stomach first, including water, try not to have coffee the first thing to hit your stomach for the day
  • Have it black or with a small amount of full cream milk, all other milk substitutes have too much sugar and nasty additives
  • Have no more than one per day
  • Avoid coffee after 12pm
  • Drink plenty of water all day

And lastly…enjoy it! However you drink it, enjoy it. If you don’t, don’t drink it, have a cup of herbal tea instead.


Black Coffee