There have been a lot of news stories recently about what the best food is for increasing your fertility. At a recent meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, a provocative study suggested that a diet high in protein and low in carbohydrates by women undergoing IVF had pregnancy rates 4x that of women who had a high carb diet. This ‘Atkins’-like diet seemed to have a beneficial effect on embryos, with more reaching blastocyst stage. 54.3% of patients whose daily protein intake was greater than 25% had embryos reaching blastocyst stage. This is versus 38% of patients whose daily protein intake was less than 25%. Reaching blastocyst stage is a very important milestone as it is the stage before implantation. And it is where the embryo has already started to form two different cell lines, one to become the embryo proper and the other to form the placenta.
This is quite a remarkable and compelling study if it proves to be true when scaled up (as only 120 women were involved initially). The doctor leading the study noticed that while BMI is involved in fertility, he saw poor quality embryos among thin and healthy women. Investigating further, he concluded this was down to a high protein diet. He and his colleagues now suggest that women in his clinic seeking IVF go on a high protein low carb diet 3 months before starting treatment. Specifically, he requires patients to eat 25% to 35% protein and 40% or less carbohydrates.
It can be really difficult to follow every advice that comes out from studies. There always seems to be new advice. It is clear what may NOT be good for you: high fat diet, alcohol, smoking, but to have a study which seems to directly link a particular diet with IVF outcome is novel.
Reducing your carb intake is healthy advice. And increasing protein in your diet will not be difficult. If this diet has such a dramatic effect on IVF success rates, then it is definitely worth a shot.
You may like to read more about IVF Treatments available abroad.