The choice to pursue In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) requires a heavy investment from couples both emotionally and financially. Despite the high-stakes nature of this procedure, many couples are not well informed about the impact that simple diet and lifestyle changes can have on the success of their IVF.
“It’s oversimplifying the process to assume that diet and lifestyle have no bearing on the success of an IVF cycle. If a couple has struggled [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][to get pregnant] enough to land in a fertility clinic, they need support beyond hormone injections and procedures to have a healthy pregnancy and baby.”
In 2015, a study tracked 12,000 couples undergoing IVF, and found that a huge proportion (50-70%) were carrying on with diet and lifestyle changes that DIRECTLY impact their likelihood of success(1). Couples continued to consume small amounts of alcohol and caffeine, and did not make the very simple changes to supplements and diet that could make or break their IVF cycle. This study alone emphasizes the importance of a pre-IVF diet plan for both male and female partners.
Both alcohol and caffeine have been shown to reduce the success of IVF cycles, even when as few as 1-4 alcoholic drinks (2–4), or 1 caffeinated drink (100 mg caffeine) (5) are consumed in the weeks proceeding IVF. Other dietary support should be tailored to the “reason” couples need IVF (whether it be male factor or female factor infertility) with improved outcomes when applying a therapeutic diet based on a couples individual needs. Even simple supplementation with healthy fats(6), and a Mediterranean diet pattern(7) have been shown to improve IVF birth rates.
General supplementation during IVF should include a high quality multivitamin(8) (not a “1-a-day”) and Vitamin D, dosed based on lab work(9–12). Vitamin D deficiency is a common thread among infertile couples regardless of the “reason” for infertility, and a test-and-treat approach to vitamin D improves pregnancy rates in couples receiving fertility treatment.
Egg and sperm quality should also be a focus in couples undergoing IVF; with research suggesting we should be selecting treatment options based on patients other health conditions. Improving egg quality and pregnancy rates has been studied for antioxidants such as melatonin (13), and metabolic support with the B vitamin Inositol (14) and the herb Berberine (15). An experienced Naturopathic Doctor can prescribe these nutrients based on a couple’s individual needs and the type of medication and treatment prescribed by their fertility doctor.
Progesterone suppositories are now used by upwards of 75% of fertility clinics (Mesen 2017 needed) to maintain pregnancy after IVF transfer, and can be prescribed by a Naturopathic Doctor with a prescribing license. Progesterone has been well studied for preventing miscarriage in couples undergoing natural conception or with reproductive technology such as IVF(16–19). All of the doctors in our office hold a prescribing license for progesterone.
Couples who are undergoing IVF require at least 4-8 weeks of pre-treatment with a Naturopathic Doctor to get the most out of their cycle, and can significantly improve their chances of pregnancy with minor changes to their health plan.
If you have questions about the timing of your Naturopathic appointment around your IVF treatment, please contact the office to speak to one of our Doctors.
- Domar AD, Rooney KL, Milstein M, Conboy L. Lifestyle habits of 12,800 IVF patients: Prevalence of negative lifestyle behaviors, and impact of region and insurance coverage. Hum Fertil Camb Engl. 2015;18(4):253–7.
- Hakim RB, Gray RH, Zacur H. Alcohol and caffeine consumption and decreased fertility. Fertil Steril. 1998 Oct;70(4):632–7.
- Nicolau P, Miralpeix E, Solà I, Carreras R, Checa MA. Alcohol consumption and in vitro fertilization: a review of the literature. Gynecol Endocrinol Off J Int Soc Gynecol Endocrinol. 2014 Nov;30(11):759–63.
- Klonoff-Cohen H, Lam-Kruglick P, Gonzalez C. Effects of maternal and paternal alcohol consumption on the success rates of in vitro fertilization and gamete intrafallopian transfer. Fertil Steril. 2003 Feb;79(2):330–9.
- Cnattingius S, Signorello LB, Annerén G, Clausson B, Ekbom A, Ljunger E, et al. Caffeine intake and the risk of first-trimester spontaneous abortion. N Engl J Med. 2000 Dec 21;343(25):1839–45.
- Moran LJ, Tsagareli V, Noakes M, Norman R. Altered Preconception Fatty Acid Intake Is Associated with Improved Pregnancy Rates in Overweight and Obese Women Undertaking in Vitro Fertilisation. Nutrients. 2016 Jan 4;8(1).
- Vujkovic M, de Vries JH, Lindemans J, Macklon NS, van der Spek PJ, Steegers EAP, et al. The preconception Mediterranean dietary pattern in couples undergoing in vitro fertilization/intracytoplasmic sperm injection treatment increases the chance of pregnancy. Fertil Steril. 2010 Nov;94(6):2096–101.
- Chavarro JE, Rich-Edwards JW, Rosner BA, Willett WC. Use of multivitamins, intake of B vitamins, and risk of ovulatory infertility. Fertil Steril. 2008 Mar;89(3):668–76.
- Asadi M, Matin N, Frootan M, Mohamadpour J, Qorbani M, Tanha FD. Vitamin D improves endometrial thickness in PCOS women who need intrauterine insemination: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2014 Apr 1;289(4):865–70.
- Grzechocinska B, Dabrowski FA, Cyganek A, Wielgos M. The role of vitamin D in impaired fertility treatment. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2013;34(8):756–62.
- Kebapcilar AG, Kulaksizoglu M, Kebapcilar L, Gonen MS, Unlü A, Topcu A, et al. Is there a link between premature ovarian failure and serum concentrations of vitamin D, zinc, and copper? Menopause N Y N. 2013 Jan;20(1):94–9.
- Andreoli L, Piantoni S, Dall’Ara F, Allegri F, Meroni PL, Tincani A. Vitamin D and antiphospholipid syndrome. Lupus. 2012 Jun;21(7):736–40.
- Eryilmaz OG, Devran A, Sarikaya E, Aksakal FN, Mollamahmutoğlu L, Cicek N. Melatonin improves the oocyte and the embryo in IVF patients with sleep disturbances, but does not improve the sleeping problems. J Assist Reprod Genet. 2011 Sep;28(9):815–20.
- Pacchiarotti A, Gianfranco Carlomagno, Antonini G, Pacchiarotti A. Effect of myo-inositol and melatonin versus myo-inositol, in a randomized controlled trial, for improving in vitro fertilization of patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome. Gynecol Endocrinol Off J Int Soc Gynecol Endocrinol. 2016;32(1):69–73.
- An Y, Sun Z, Zhang Y, Liu B, Guan Y, Lu M. The use of berberine for women with polycystic ovary syndrome undergoing IVF treatment. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2014 Mar;80(3):425–31.
- Saharkhiz N, Zamaniyan M, Salehpour S, Zadehmodarres S, Hoseini S, Cheraghi L, et al. A comparative study of dydrogesterone and micronized progesterone for luteal phase support during in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles. Gynecol Endocrinol Off J Int Soc Gynecol Endocrinol. 2016;32(3):213–7.
- Coomarasamy A, Williams H, Truchanowicz E, Seed PT, Small R, Quenby S, et al. A Randomized Trial of Progesterone in Women with Recurrent Miscarriages. N Engl J Med. 2015 Nov 26;373(22):2141–8.
- Biberoglu EH, Tanrıkulu F, Erdem M, Erdem A, Biberoglu KO. Luteal phase support in intrauterine insemination cycles: a prospective randomized study of 300 mg versus 600 mg intravaginal progesterone tablet. Gynecol Endocrinol Off J Int Soc Gynecol Endocrinol. 2016;32(1):55–7.
- Elguero S, Wyman A, Hurd WW, Barker N, Patel B, Liu JH. Does progesterone supplementation improve pregnancy rates in clomiphene citrate and intrauterine insemination treatment cycles? Gynecol Endocrinol Off J Int Soc Gynecol Endocrinol. 2015 Mar;31(3):229–32.