Written by Giorgos Christopoulos Obstetrician – Gynecologist Specialist in Assisted Reproduction HEALTH IVF EMBRYOGENESIS Unit
A diagnosis of infertility is often confusing and confusing, and the success of an IVF treatment depends on many factors. The first step relies on dietary and lifestyle changes that can increase the chances of conception.
A healthy weight
In women, obesity is associated with hormonal disorders and polycystic ovary syndrome. Losing 5-10% of body weight can improve ovarian function. In men, obesity is associated with lower testosterone levels, low sperm count and motility. Achieving a healthy weight is achieved through a balanced diet and not through unorthodox excesses that lead to nutritional deficiencies.
Vitamins and antioxidant ingredients
For the woman, the sufficiency of antioxidant factors is important because it reduces the “oxidative stress” in the eggs, which has been associated with better quality of the eggs, but especially of the embryos resulting from them. For men, antioxidants significantly reduce the fragmentation rate of sperm DNA (high fragmentation rates have been linked to adverse reproductive outcomes and early miscarriages).
Omega-3 fats are beneficial for their anti-inflammatory properties and participate in the smooth functioning of spermatozoa. It is therefore recommended to take adequate amounts (about 1800mg daily for 6 months).
A beneficial element, especially for women, is coenzyme Q10. Recent data show that the smooth development of the embryo to the blastocyst stage depends on mitochondria (parts of the cell). Thus, coenzyme Q10 helps in the proper functioning of the mitochondria of the egg, and for this reason its complementary intake by women who will undergo in vitro fertilization makes sense. The recommended dose is 600mg of coenzyme Q10 per day for about 2 months. Couples starting IVF should aim for vitamin D sufficiency in the blood. The recommended, daily dose is 1000-2000iu while in cases of severe deficiency, the dose is 20,000iu per week.
Correct consumption of carbohydrates
Excessive carbohydrate consumption has adverse effects especially in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Good sources of carbohydrates are legumes, brown rice, medium-ripe fruits with their skins. These carbohydrates are best spread out in small amounts throughout the day and not crammed into a large meal. A good practice is to combine good carbs with vegetables and protein/fat sources (eggs, cheese, meat, chicken, fish, nuts).
Type of fat
Trans fats (such as processed foods, fried foods, packaged cookies) are wise to replace with monounsaturated fats (eg olive oil, avocados, peanuts, almonds). ω3 fatty acids appear to improve egg quality, while in men, consumption of ω3 fatty acids has a positive effect on sperm motility.
A balanced and healthy “Mediterranean” type diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes and seafood is recommended. There is no need to overeat red meat and foods high in saturated fat should be avoided. In a recent study by Harokopion University, it was shown that consuming vegetables, fruits, cereals, fish, olive oil for 6 months before IVF increases the probability of a successful outcome.
There is evidence that coffee consumption can negatively affect fertility. Taking 500mg of caffeine per day can delay pregnancy, while high coffee consumption is associated with a risk of miscarriage. Moderate consumption of caffeine (<150-200mg) is recommended if desired by the woman.
Alcohol in large quantities affects fertility. A large study in women showed that 8 drinks a week can delay pregnancy. The consumption of small amounts of good quality alcohol (eg red wine which is also allowed by the Mediterranean diet) if a woman so desires can be tolerated.
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