Mediterranean Diet Linked to IVF Success

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a fertility treatment successfully used by millions of women for over 20 years. Physicians recommend women opt for IVF if other fertility treatments have not resulted in pregnancy if they have missing or blocked fallopian tubes or if they have endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome or other disorder that interferes with fertility. To start the IVF procedure, doctors inject hormones that promote the production of multiple eggs instead of just one egg. Once multiple eggs are detected, eggs are retrieved and combined with sperm in a laboratory dish. When an embryo reaches a mature blastocyst stage, the embryo is transferred to the woman’s uterus where a normal pregnancy is expected to commence.

How is a Mediterranean Diet Beneficial to a Successful In Vitro Fertilization Procedure?

Emphasizing plant-based foods like nuts, legumes, whole grains, low-fat dairy, vegetables and fruits, the Mediterranean diet also emphasizes olive oil (a healthy type of fat) and lean protein from poultry and fish. Red meat and salt are not generally included in a strictly Mediterranean diet. Spices and herbs are used to flavor Mediterranean diet foods instead of high-calorie, high-fat condiments.

Antioxidants and IVF Success

The Mediterranean diet contains high amounts of antioxidants, or molecules that stop oxidation (destruction) of other molecules. Since cells are composed of molecules, consuming antioxidant foods protect cells from other molecules called free radicals that destroy healthy molecules and cells. A woman’s eggs, reproductive hormone glands, and reproductive organs are all made of cells that could suffer damage from an overabundance of free radicals. Eating Mediterranean diet foods significantly helps reduce free radical damage and can keep glands and organs functioning optimally while a woman undergoes in vitro fertilization.

Omega-6 Fatty Acids and IVF Success

Healthy vegetable oils are a staple of the Mediterranean diet. Rich in omega-6 fatty acids, vegetable oils provide precursors essential for making prostaglandins in the body. A special kind of hormone that is not released by glands, prostaglandins are instead produced automatically in the body wherever they are needed. Involved in regulating a woman’s reproductive system, prostaglandins also control ovulation and begin labor by triggering contraction of uterine muscles.

Research Shows the Mediterranean Diet Correlates with IVF Success

In the 2018 study “Mediterranean Diet May Help Women Receiving IVF Achieve Successful Pregnancies” published by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, researchers found that women following a Mediterranean diet six months prior to receiving IVF had a “significantly better chance” of conceiving and giving birth compared to women who did not eat foods associated with a Mediterranean diet. Results of the study concluded that women eating little to no red meat and more fruit, fresh vegetables, fish, legumes, whole grains and vegetable oils had between a 65 percent and 68 percent better chance of achieving pregnancy and giving birth than women who had the “lowest adherence” to the Mediterranean diet.

Authors of the study further stated that “when it comes to achieving pregnancy, lifestyle and diet are just as important to men as it is to women. Prior studies suggest that men adhering to the Mediterranean diet may have improved quality of semen”. Additionally, the correlation between successful IVF treatment and eating Mediterranean diet foods “was particularly strong for women under 35 who ate in this way for six months before having fertility treatment”

Schedule a Consultation Appointment Today at Viera Fertility Center

In addition to in vitro fertilization, we also offer intrauterine insemination, embryo assisted hatching, fertility drug therapy and other fertility treatments to help women achieve pregnancy. Fertility testing procedures at our center include blood tests for evaluating ovarian reserve, ovulation function, and hormone levels. Noninvasive pelvic ultrasounds are also important for examining reproductive organs (ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, uterus) to determine if a physical problem is affecting these structures that could be interfering with a woman’s ability to conceive.

Call us today at 321-751-HOPE to speak to a staff member about scheduling an appointment today with our fertility specialist.