The Mediterranean diet, with its emphasis on eating less meat and more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, fish, and olive oil, may help increase in vitro fertilization (IVF) success rates in certain women. The research, published in Human Reproduction, included 244 non-obese women, aged 22 to 41, who underwent their first IVF procedure in an Assisted Conception Unit in Athens, Greece, between November 2013 and September 2016. Prior to IVF, the women completed a food-frequency questionnaire that researchers used to determine how closely their diets matched the Mediterranean diet over the previous six months (MedDietScore). After the first IVF cycle, researchers tracked the women to monitor successful implantations, pregnancies, and live births. Comparing the MedDietScores and IVF outcomes, they found that:
In women under 35, higher MedDietScores, indicating closer compliance with the Mediterranean diet, were associated with higher rates of pregnancy and live birth:
Those with the highest MedDietScores were 25% more likely to become pregnant and 28% more likely to have a live birth compared with women with the lowest scores.
Every five-point increase of MedDietScores was estimated to be associated with an approximately 2.7 times higher chance of achieving pregnancy and live birth.
In women 35 and older, MedDietScores were not correlated with pregnancy or live birth rates.
Researchers point out that age is among the most important factors impacting fertility, which may explain why the positive results were restricted to those under 35. However, while age is crucial, these findings highlight that a healthy diet is also important. Previous research further indicates certain food groups in the Mediterranean diet are individually associated with certain aspects of IVF success. For example, in one study, eating cereals, fruits, and vegetables was associated with better embryo quality in women undergoing IVF. In another study, eating fruits and vegetables was even associated with increased male fertility. Considering all of this, plus the myriad of other benefits associated with the Mediterranean diet, it could be a good choice for the whole family.
Source: Human Reproduction