One of the tests that you’ll have completed during your journey is a Vitamin D screening. This screening, completed by a simple blood test, is something that you’ll do in your own hometown (or at least close by) prior to being flown to California for your in-person screenings. If your results come back low, you may be asked to add a supplement to your diet.
Vitamin D, more commonly known as the sunshine vitamin, is essential in pregnancy and critical to IVF success. Studies show a link between proper Vitamin D levels and IVF success. Not only will egg donors with proper Vitamin D levels produce better quality embryos, but surrogates who have ideal Vitamin D levels are more likely to have a transfer result in an implanted embryo (positive pregnancy result) than those with a Vitamin D deficiency.
In fact, studies have shown that women attempting to become pregnant through IVF who maintain ideal Vitamin D levels are twice as likely to become pregnant than women who are Vitamin D deficient.
Once pregnant, having adequate levels of vitamin D will benefit the developing fetus and help the surrogate maintain her own bone density during the pregnancy. It also helps ensure that your immune system is performing at top notch to keep you feeling as good as possible throughout the pregnancy.
Studies have shown several scary potential side effects of pregnancies completed when Vitamin D levels are not adequate. Infants can be born with low birth weights, occasionally leading to poor skeletal development and immune system problems throughout their lives. For you, a pregnancy completed without proper Vitamin D levels could mean poor calcium absorption and a greater stress on your own bone reserves. You could be more prone to break a bone both during and after the pregnancy.
Some women are more prone to low vitamin D levels than others. Women with darker skin tones and those who are more likely to have their skin covered while outside (due either to style choices or inclement weather) tend to have lower Vitamin D levels.
In general, most doctors consider a Vitamin D level of 20 ng/ml to be sufficient for daily life but recommend a level no lower than 30 ng/ml for optimal IVF and pregnancy benefits. If your levels fall below the minimum requirement of 30 ng/ml, you will likely be asked to introduce a supplement to your diet, wait a period of time, and then complete a second Vitamin D screening before moving forward towards an embryo transfer. If your levels are significantly too low, you may be asked to follow-up with your family doctor to try and pinpoint the low levels and correct any underlying issues. Occasionally this comes with an injection of Vitamin D.
Once a repeat blood test indicates that you’ve hit the minimum barrier for IVF success, we can prepare your in-person screening.