Which Season Is Best for Undergoing IVF Treatment in India? Here are 5 facts that will help you avoid the myths surrounding IVF in the summer!

By Dr Kshitiz Murdia

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The number of natural human births vary by season. Scientists have noted the change in the variations for years. Apart from natural births, the number of births via IVF also increases during the summer season1,2.

This is in sharp contrast to the belief that IVF procedures are less successful during the summer months. Here are 5 facts that will help you avoid the myths surrounding IVF in the summer!

Fact 1: Increased Vitamin D stimulates fertility

Even in India, where most of the summer months are unforgivingly hot and sweaty, the rates of success of IVF remain high. Along with high temperature and humidity, summer also brings an abundance of sunshine. Sunlight helps in the production of vitamin D, which is great for any woman undergoing IVF treatment.

Research shows that women who have sufficient Vit D in their body produce a better quality of ova and high-quality embryos. These are critical factors that can almost double the chances of one's pregnancy following IVF cycles. Similar studies have shown that women who lack sufficient levels of Vit D in their body have higher chances of infertility.

Fact 2: Fewer drugs are necessary for IVF during summer months

Research conducted by the Liverpool Women's Hospital and Countess of Chester Hospital on 2709 women showed that those who underwent their IVF treatment during the summer months required fewer drugs to stimulate ovulation 2. These patients were two-times as likely to become pregnant at the end of one IVF cycle between April and September. Around 20% of the women conceived during the summer months as compared to only 15% of the patients between October and March.

Fact 3: More sunlight produces more melatonin to prime female fertility

Melatonin is a neurohormone that plays an important role in the circadian rhythm. In the summer months, when the days a longer, the body produces more melatonin. According to Dr. Simon Wood, who led the aforementioned study, melatonin also regulates fertility in women. The hormone has been shown to prime the fertility of women apart from determining their sleep-wake cycle.

Melatonin may directly act on the reproductive tissues. It makes increases the fertility of women during the summer months. IVF cycles during the summer months may see more success due to the elevated melatonin levels.

Fact 4: Natural sunlight produces more oestrogen

High oestrogen levels promote ovulation. Increased levels of this hormone can make pregnancy easier for women undergoing IVF. During the spring months, the neurons in the brain produce higher levels of gonadotropin-releasing hormones (GnRH).

Research by Dr Braga et al3 shows that IVF cycles during months of March to September show higher success rates. It may be due to the production of higher levels of 17-β estradiol (main oestrogen produced in pubescent women). Spring-time and summer-time fertilization rates (via IVF) are almost 1.5-times that of winter fertilization rates (via IVF).

Fact 5: Longer daylight hours mean more quality time with your partner

In the northern hemisphere, days are distinctly longer in the summer than they are during the winter. Apart from higher levels of hormones that can aid fertility, you get to spend more quality time with your partner as you undergo fertility treatment and IVF.

Getting quality time is of great importance for your psychological and physiological health. Your health will determine the health of the oocytes and the embryo. Extended daylight can give you the chance to bond, create fond memories, and lean on each other during the IVF cycles irrespective of the outcome.

So, what should you do?

You may be wasting precious time waiting for winter or spring. Although summers can be sweaty and hot, your chances of conceiving through IVF during the summer months are supported by evolutionary pressures and physiological factors.

Moreover, you should always find a reliable doctor and a reputable clinic for your IVF treatments. Do not defer your IVF cycle to find the "perfect season" by waiting for another 6 months especially if you are racing against the biological clock.

Dr Kshitiz Murdia

Medical Director, Indira IVF

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