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Fertility Q&A: Natural Preparation for IUI, IVF and FET

Fertility Q&A: Natural Preparation for IUI, IVF and FET

Natural Ways to Prepare for IUI, IVF, FETNow that you are about to begin medications or treatments for IUI, IVF, or FET, do you have questions about continuing the herbs, nutritional supplements, and natural therapies you have been using for the past 90 days (3 months)? Read on! Following are commonly asked questions we receive about using natural therapies when beginning IUI, IVF and FET.

1. Q: I want to improve my chances of a successful IVF and I would like to try some natural therapies you have on your site. Can I use castor oil therapy while on meds? How about Self Fertility Massage; can I do the SFM while receiving injections?

A: Castor Oil Therapy and Self Fertility Massage™ (SFM) should only be used before beginning IVF medications, not while taking them or having injections.

Castor Oil Therapy and SFM offer cost-effective, easy to obtain fertility health benefits. They are both beneficial to use in preparation for IUI, IVF and FET. We suggest using these natural therapies for a minimum of three months’ time, but each are quick to support the reproductive organs, whether used for three months’ time or for a few weeks.

The reason both Castor Oil Therapy and SFM should be discontinued when you begin IVF medications/injections is because, during IVF, the medications you will be taking stimulate multiple follicles (eggs) in the ovaries to mature for the upcoming retrieval. As the follicles mature and the ovaries become larger, you will most likely be very sensitive in the ovarian area.

Castor Oil Therapy and SFM are not to be used after transfer of the embryos or during pregnancy either.

2. Q: I am going through FET taking injections, can I do SFM? Castor Oil Therapy?

A: SFM and Castor Oil Therapy are best used for at least 1-3 months prior to the frozen embryo transfer (FET), but not after the transfer. Each can be applied 3-4 times a week until it is determined the endometrial lining is an adequate thickness to support healthy implantation of the embryo. When this determination is made, both should be discontinued. It is best to stop these natural therapies a week prior to the transfer.

FET typically begins with three to four weeks of taking daily birth control pills, and based on bloodwork, there is potential you will be given estrogen injections and/or progesterone suppositories until the endometrial lining is determined to be a healthy thickness for implantation of the embryo, “the transfer”. Estrogen and progesterone are likely to be continued after the transfer as well.

Because SFM and Castor Oil Therapy support an increase in circulation to the uterus are safe to use while on birth control and when no ovulation stimulation medications (which make the ovaries sensitive) are required during FET; each of these natural therapies have been found to be useful in naturally preparing the uterus for implantation. It is best to avoid massaging or applying Castor Oil over injection sites.

3. Q: I have been using Wobenzym N with great effect on my allergies and neck and back pain. I’ve also been taking it for immunological issues as I’ve had several miscarriages. I’m now having IVF this weekend and wondering if it’s ok to take it during this and if I get pregnant? Always scared to do something wrong when supplementing. Have you had many patients taking it through IVF?

A: It is going to be best to talk with your reproductive endocrinologist about continuing Wobenzym N in IVF. We cannot suggest taking Wobenzym N with IVF medications without guidance from your healthcare provider.

Wobenzym N is the enzyme blend we suggest because research has shown it is safe for long term use, even in pregnancy, under the supervision of your doctor. Our Senior Herbalist Dalene Barton-Schuster has written an article, Fertility Benefits of Wobenzym N, that shares a great study you may be interested in reviewing with your doctor to help you make an informed decision about using this product into your pregnancy.

Read a success story about using Wobenzym N during IVF and into pregnancy…

4. Q: Hello, thanks for a great product. I just finished my Fertility Cleanse and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m on a fertility journey and felt very excited to try out your cleanse when I came across it online. I’m planning to get pregnant very soon. If all goes accordingly, my IUI will take place in two weeks. Given this specific situation, can I continue to take the Women’s Best Friend supplement or drink Conceptions Tea once my menstruation is complete, up until IUI? Thanks for your guidance.

A: I am glad to hear the Fertility Cleanse went well! Yes, Conceptions Tea and Women’s Best Friend can be continued during menstruation (if you do not have heavy menstrual bleeding) and until within a few days of beginning any IUI preparation with medication(s).

5. Q: I am currently in an IVF cycle – my retrieval is in a few days. I will likely freeze any embryos and do a frozen embryo transfer on my next cycle. I purchased Maca and royal jelly. When can I take the Maca and royal jelly? I am wondering if I didn’t need to buy them, if I intend to go straight on to do a frozen embryo transfer? I did buy the RejuvaFlow and UteriCalm and was going to use RejuvaFlow to bring on my period and then UteriCalm as I start my FET cycle. Thank you!

A: Maca, Royal Jelly, and RejuvaFlow are not to be started once a woman begins any type of medications for the IVF process. These products are best used in preparation for IVF and then discontinued when IVF medications are started.

Maca, Royal Jelly and UteriCalm can be restarted after your egg retrieval is complete, as you prepare for FET. Maca and Royal Jelly should be paused when you begin taking medications in preparation for the embryo transfer. UteriCalm can be utilized throughout both IVF and FET and continued through the first trimester of pregnancy to support a calm uterus, with your doctor’s approval. RejuvaFlow is not to be used during either procedure or with any fertility medications. While we understand your doctor may want you to have a menstrual period prior to beginning the FET process, RejuvaFlow is not designed for this type of situation. RejuvaFlow is best used by those women who have an absent period due to hormonal imbalance.

6. Q: I know you recommend doing a 3-month cleanse, but sadly, I don’t have the luxury of time. Do you recommend doing any of the fertility cleansing herbs during the time after my IVF retrieval and before a transfer (it could be anywhere from 2-3 weeks depending)?

A: We suggest a one-month Fertility Cleanse versus three months of cleansing, in preparation for IVF. There isn’t a form of fertility cleansing we suggest during IVF, FET, pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Rather than cleanse, it is best to focus on boosting nutrition through diet and managing stress levels with mind-body practices like meditation, positive affirmations, and EFT to encourage healthy function of all body systems during medical fertility procedures.

7. Q: If I am preparing to start another IVF cycle (not an FET, but rather a stimulation cycle to get more eggs), with the goal of starting this within anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks, what would you recommend?

Up until I start the IVF medications, can I still incorporate the following?

  • Maca
  • Royal Jelly
  • Spirulina
  • Cod Liver Oil
  • FertiliGreens

With the understanding that except for the Cod Liver Oil and Spirulina, I’ll stop the rest of the above when I start the IVF medications.

A: The list of supplements you shared offer a variety of fertility health benefits and are known to support egg health. What you can do/take in the time frame you have is great! You are correct in that only Cod Liver Oil and Spirulina can be continued during IVF. The other supplements are best stopped unless being guided in continuing them by your healthcare provider.

8. Q: My period was irregular before I did my last IVF stim cycle, so that’s why I originally purchased the RejuvaFlow. But do you think it is best if I am going to start an IVF cycle in a month or so for me to not use RejuvaFlow?

A: RejuvaFlow is not intended for those menstruating, even if irregular. It is for those who have no period at all. It may not be the best product to focus on now. Other areas to consider focusing are shared in the article How to Increase Your IVF Success Rates Naturally. Consider learning more about naturally supporting uterine health with Self Fertility Massage, massage techniques you can do at home.

Are you preparing for IUI, IVF or FET and have more questions? Please post your questions in our comment section below. We would love to hear from you and help you achieve a successful pregnancy!

Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN
Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN

Dr. Traxler is a University-trained obstetrician/gynecologist, working with patients in Minnesota for over 20 years. She is a professional medical writer; having authored multiple books on pregnancy and childbirth; textbooks and coursework for medical students and other healthcare providers; and has written over 1000 articles on medical, health, and wellness topics.  Dr. Traxler attended the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences and University of Minnesota Medical School,  earning a degree in biochemistry with summa cum laude honors in 1981,  and receiving her Medical Doctorate degree (MD) in 1986.

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  1. Avatar

    Im due for my first iui in a few days, i have been on injectables, can i still do the castor oil packs?

  2. Avatar

    I am 40 …I just finished my last day of clomid ( previously producing 3-4 follicles each time 16-22mm ) . I will be scheduling my 3rd IUI sometime this week. Is there anything that I can do to increase my chances of a successful IUI?

  3. Avatar

    Hi, I have Ashermans and my lining is very thin, even after surgery to remove the scar tissue. I am going to be starting FET in about month, do you recommend Castor Oil packs and if so how often? Any other suggestions?

    Thank you

  4. Avatar

    I know I need to stop Maca and Royal Jelly once I start my IVF med injections. Can I start them back up after my embryo transfer? Thank you!

  5. Avatar

    Hi, thankyou for all the wonderful information on your website! I just started meds for an ivf cycle. Prior to this I was taking baby & me multivitamin, fertilica antioxidants, ubiquinol CoQ10, maca, ashwaganda, fibro defense (I have a fibroid), fish oil and fairhaven health ova boost which contains melatonin, vitamin e, alpha lipoid acid etc . Just wondering which of those supplements I should stop now? Is ubiquinol CoQ10 still okay to take? I’m also drinking red raspberry tea, is that okay?
    Thanks 🙂

    • Hello Suzanne!

      What an exciting time! Without your doctor’s approval, we have to suggest stopping every thing except Baby and Me and the fish oil supplements. Red Raspberry can be considered again in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy and beyond.

      Please discuss with your doctor continuing any other supplements before doing so. My very best to you!

  6. Avatar

    I am about to start 3 cycles egg collection, followed by a month for the transfer, with natural IVF as I am 42 and have diminished ovarian reserve (1-2 follicles found each cycle and an AMH of 1.6). I have sub-clinical hypothyroidism (TSH 3.4 after treatment) and am struggling with cysts. I am hoping to start my treatment during the next cycle. As I am not taking any medications would it be safe to do the self fertility massage and the castor packs after menstruation up until egg collection each cycle?

    • Dear Rebecca,

      It seems so, as long as your doctor is aware you are using these natural therapies. They are not to be used if medication is needed, or if your doctor suggests otherwise. Do also pause their use within a couple of days of the collection.

  7. Avatar

    I found the info on sfm and castor oil patch therapy and shared with my daughter who did both for the first time tonight. Now I read that none of this was supposed to be done if you are currently doing ivf injections. I am sick that I may have told her to do something that could now have hurt her chances of it working. Please tell me that this didn’t damage any eggs that are being stimulated bu suggesting she do these procedures… Also, not one site or you tube channel I read on doing these procedures mentioned if you were doing ivf you shouldn’t do these patches or massage. Please add these comments to your instructions so people don’t make the same mistake.

    • Dear Donna,

      Do not worry, using these natural therapies only once should not have caused any harm. They are incredibly gentle natural therapies! She would now pause them however unless her doctor suggests otherwise.

      The majority of our resources and products are for the time period when preparing for conception or a medical fertility procedure. The only time what we share can be considered during a medical fertility procedure would be if it clearly states that, or a doctor approves. I am sorry that wasn’t completely clear! I have also made the suggestion that this info. be added to the product sales pages. Thank you for that suggestion!

      Our very best to your daughter!

  8. Avatar

    I am due for IUI this month and the doctor prescribed letrozole to be take from day 2. Is it ok to use castor oil packs during this time?
    Also is it ok to continue taking fertility smoothies and rasberry leaf tea? i have been adding spirulina, flax seeds and chia seeds into my smoothies.

    • Dear Joss!

      I hope you are feeling hopeful!

      Now is not the time to do Castor Oil Packs, but your smoothies and Red Raspberry Leaf tea sound wonderful! Red Raspberry Leaf can be discontinued in the two week wait or when you confirm pregnancy. It has been found to be most helpful pre-pregnancy and again in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy.

      My best!

  9. Avatar

    Hi, My IVF was cancelled because of low estrogen. I have read a lot about Maca, but not sure if I should take it. I have hypothyroid as well. I have a upcoming IVF cycle in another 3 months. Please suggest, if I should start taking this herb?

  10. Avatar

    Hi there, I’ve been taking some OTC supplements (prenatal with DHA, fish oil 1200mg, mag/vitamin C, probiotics, chromium, melatonin, vitamin D, reversatol, inositol, primrose oil).
    My egg follicles at my ultrasound yesterday were small and I only had 2 on the left, and 4-5 on the right on cycle day 25 (no stim meds yet). What can I do to improve the quantity/quality of eggs prior to my IVF cycle in January or February? I also have endometriosis and had lap exision surgery in April. Anything else that can help reduce inflammatory/immune responses to the IVF? I only have about 2 months to prepare for my IVF cycle. Thank you!

  11. Avatar

    I live in South Africa so I don’t have access to fertility products. In two weeks, I will be starting my FET. I have been taking L-arginine, folic tables, cod liver. I have also been juicing vegs and fruits, adding spirulina powder, wheatgrass powder, hemp seed powder and maca powder. I have also been drinking herbal teas such as rasberry tea, burdock root, dandelion, peppermint, oatstraw, red clover, lemon balm, alfalfa herb, stinging nettle root. I need to know once I start with my period, what should stop and what should I continue with?

    • Dear Angeline,

      I wish for you peace and positive thoughts as you approach your FET!

      It may be best to discuss this with your doctor as well, but it will be best to discontinue L-Arginine, wheatgrass and Maca powder within the week before the transfer. Folic acid tablets, cod liver oil, Spirulina and vegetable/fruit juice are all wonderful to continue. Hemp seed powder can be continued as well.

      All my best!

  12. Avatar

    Hello, thanks for the product. I am about to finish my Fertility Cleanse. I am planning to go for FET in 4 days time, God willing. My question is, can I continue taking the Women’s Best Friend supplement and drink Conceptions Tea as I menstruate and before the transfer. Plus I wanted to know what I can do with the left over Liver cleanse flushing tea, Liver renew capsules and milk thistle extract. Thanks for an awesome well researched site!!

    • Dear Sharon,

      Best wishes to you! I hope you are excited and feeling positive!

      Women’s Best Friend and Conceptions Tea are both best stopped now and definitely when menstruation begins. Any leftover products from the Fertility Cleanse can be saved in a cool dry place for use within 2 years time if there is an opportunity to do so. (they are not to be used through FET, in pregnancy or while breastfeeding).

      All my best!

  13. Avatar

    Hi, I am about to start my IVF cycle. I have been taking Maca, CoQ10, cod liver oil, spirulina and Red rasberry leaf and Nettles. I know that once I start with IVF, I have to stop maca, what about the herbs?

  14. Avatar

    i have completed my egg retrieval recently,planning for frozen embryo transfer in 3 months.I have fibroids and endometriosis. What herbs would you suggest to maximise my IVF succes?im now 41 yrs old

  15. Avatar

    good day, i had 4 eggs retrieved on monday, so far only 3 have matured stil waiting to hear tomorrow finally and i will be transferring on saturday,in the meantime what can i do to increase my chances of implantation. i have just turned 40yrs last week

  16. Avatar

    Does one require fertility cleansing before IVF preparation while taking maca, royal jelly e.t.c and for how long.

    • Hello Vera,

      It is not required, but it can be very helpful when preparing for an upcoming IVF. If you have not read our full IVF Preparation Guide, I urge you to check it out, it will explain when Fertility Cleansing is best done prior to IVF. It is fine to take Maca and Royal Jelly during the Fertility Cleanse.

  17. Avatar

    I had FET natural circle 2weeks ago it was not successfull so am planning to go for the 3rd circle of fertility treatment , when is the best time for me to start self fertility massage

  18. Avatar

    Thank you for your website, you share so much great information. My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for a little over 2 years, we just recently decided to start seeing a Reproductive Specialist. I went this week to review my egg health and hormone levels and everything came back in the normal range. My hormones are in the normal range but I get night sweats a night or two before my period starts and have painful periods. The doctor thinks I am have endometriosis. The doctors suggested to try an IUI but told me the success rate is only 10%. What things do you suggest to do before starting the IUI process?
    Thank you

  19. Avatar

    I just transferred a PGS FET this past Monday 12/28. Prior, I was taking Red Raspberry Leaf Tea, Maca, L-Arginine, CO Q10 (Ubiquinol form) and UteriCalm. I am continuing UteriCalm but should I continue with the others aforementioned? I won’t go in for the blood pregnancy test until next Friday and will be going to acupuncture prior. What else do you suggest to maximize the success of this PGS FET as this is the only healthy chromosomally normal embryo I had stored and just transferred. I’m quite nervous and would like to do whatever possible for success! It’s now or never… Your prompt response will be truly appreciated. Thank you!