Going through infertility and IVF can result in physical, mental, emotional and often financial challenges, all of which can increase the potential for anxiety and stress.

This is why people often choose to use alternative therapies alongside their medical treatments, to help them to feel calmer and to cope better and, in some cases, to try to increase their chances of getting pregnant.

One popular alternative therapy is yoga. Yoga has been around for thousands of years, originating in India and only becoming popular in the western world in more recent years. It is often practised for health and relaxation and involves breath control and meditation. It can help to reduce stress and direct blood flow to the uterus, which is why it is believed to be particularly beneficial for women going through IVF treatment.
As with everything else, it’s wise to consult with your GP or fertility specialist, before making any substantial changes to your existing exercise pattern or lifestyle.

I’ve never done yoga before – where do I start?

You will need to find a reputable yoga teacher who is knowledgeable and experienced in working with women going through the IVF process, someone who can advise you about safe movement and exercise at every stage. It may be worth asking if your GP or fertility specialist can recommend anyone.

I already practise yoga regularly – is it safe for me to continue?

While some gentle yoga poses are recommended and safe for during parts of the IVF cycle, others may be advised against, so it’s important to check this before continuing with your usual routines and patterns. You may wish to consult a yoga teacher who has up to date knowledge of the benefits and any potential risks of practising yoga during the IVF process. Your GP and fertility specialist will also be able to advise you.

Which qualifications should I look for with a yoga teacher?

If you are in the UK, you can look for any of the following regulatory bodies:

British Wheel of Yoga (BWY)

Yoga Alliance Professionals

Independent Yoga Network (IYN)

Yoga Alliance

Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs)

Each body has its own standards and requirements. To gain accreditation, yoga teachers and organisations must meet certain minimum teaching standards, demonstrating their knowledge, skills and experience.

Can yoga increase male fertility?

As many people find that yoga can help to reduce stress and direct blood flow to the reproductive organs, its widely recommended for men as well as women, for both natural conception and when using assisted reproductive techniques like IVF.

Is online yoga a good option?

The benefits of online yoga:

The cost – you may find free or lower-priced sessions than in-person classes
You can choose when you do the class
You don’t have to travel
The disadvantages of online yoga:
Even if you have a webcam, the teacher will not be able to observe and correct your posture in the same way as they can at an in-person class
There is no social element
You may not have a suitable environment, with enough space and away from distractions

It’s important to assess the benefits and risks before embarking on any new form of exercise and to seek medical advice too.

Where can I find more information about complimentary therapies for use alongside IVF?

Here at the IVF Network, we recognise the importance of highlighting the range of options available for treating infertility and the complimentary therapies which can be used before, during or after treatment.

Everyone’s infertility journey is different and through our dedicated channel of experts, on our website and through our blogs, we provide information to help you on your own personal journey.