Did you know that drinking five cups of coffee throughout the day while taking IVF medications lowers your chances for IVF success by almost half? Scientists in Denmark concluded that high concentrations of caffeine and fats (both polyunsaturated and saturated) dramatically impact the efficacy of IVF treatments. This finding is now changing many of the protocols offered through fertility clinics worldwide.
But you don’t have to wait for your doctor to tell you to cut back on certain foods while taking IVF drugs, because eating any of these foods in moderation is common sense. While no one is suggesting drastic changes to anyone’s diet, it still pays to keep in mind that what you eat while going through IVF treatments can impact the effectiveness of your IVF medications and your overall chances of getting pregnant.
IVF Medications, Coffee and Pregnancies
Nearly five million babies since 1978, worldwide, have been conceived and brought to term thanks to IVF drugs and fertility treatments. However, researchers now state that this number could have been higher all along if researchers had also been focused on the diet and lifestyles of participants in their studies. What the coffee study suggests is that women who are currently taking IVF meds should cut back on their caffeine consumption, particularly coffee. While one or two cups a day is likely fine, researchers suggest it is best if you are able to forego caffeine all together if possible. Coffee, itself, does not cause IVF failure, scientists are quick to point out. Rather, it seems to be the caffeine component.
Do Fertility Drugs and Fats Mix?
Another study reported that coffee wasn’t the only food causing problems with fertility in women ingesting large amounts. Links were established between saturated and trans fats and a lowered success rate with IVF. This study took into account the participants’ age, personal habits, body mass index, fertility diagnosis and tracked them. He found that the following could be concluded about consumption of fats and its impact on IVF success:
- Participants eating highest fat amounts had lowered egg formation cells.
- Poor quality embryos resulted from women eating polyunsaturated fats at high levels.
- Monounsaturated fats were found to offer positive results, especially after embryonic transfer.
Scientists agree more research is needed to determine the links. However, your take away is simple: limit, eliminate or avoid when possible those food items seeming to interfere with IVF treatment success.
The Harvard Fertility Diet and IVF Success
In 2009, after years of research, Harvard released a book called the Fertility Diet. This book was based on studies by the college over the span of several years. Their findings indicated that women eating the foods on these lists lowered their risk of infertility by more than half. A quick summary of the findings indicates that women looking to boost the effectiveness of their IVF meds and support their own body’s fertility should try to eat more of the following:
- Eat more monounsaturated fats (olive oil or avocados for example).
- Cut back on animal protein, especially high fat red meats and opt for vegetable protein instead.
- Take multivitamins.
- Drink and eat high fat, regular dairy instead of skim or fat free.
- Eat more vegetables and grains, especially carb rich foods and whole grains.
- Folic acid containing vegetables such as leafy greens.
- Eat foods higher in Omega 3 (fish is a good source).
IVF Meds and Herbs Don’t Always Mix
Many of the herbal remedies, and even some teas on the market, can interfere with the efficacy of your IVF drugs when ingested. Make sure to speak with your doctor or pharmacists about possible contraindications between your favorite herbs and your fertility medications, because as you probably already know, the IVF meds are not cheap. You want them to work to their fullest capacity. Some herbs have the unwanted affect of impacting hormones in your body, even if they don’t contain hormones themselves. This means it can affect your IVF meds, too. Once you begin taking IVF drugs, you should discontinue the herbal remedies.
Some IVF meds don’t mix with foods that in other situations would be perfectly fine for you. For example, drinking grapefruit juice while taking Endometrin 100 mg can increase the blood levels. Likewise, drinking alcohol while taking IVF drugs is also not advised. Alcohol affects IVF medications and fertility treatments in many ways, but often simply slows down the process or interrupts production of much needed hormones. The best thing you can do for yourself when committing to fertility treatment is to begin treating your body in the best possible way, offering it optimal nutrition and avoiding anything that might pollute it.
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