Do Supplements And IVF Mix?

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is commonly used for couples with difficulty conceiving or singles looking to start a family. With IVF, multiple mature eggs are fertilized by sperm outside the body in a laboratory. The fertilized egg, called an embryo, is then implanted into the woman’s uterus. IVF is a complex yet delicate procedure requiring much care, patience, and attention. There is growing concern that certain supplements may interfere with the success of IVF treatment. Therefore, patients must be well-informed about supplement use during fertility treatment for the best chance of success.

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Putting a pause on supplements

Certain dietary supplements, such as herbal products, may contain ingredients that disrupt the balance of hormones needed for successful IVF treatment. For example, herbal products containing phytoestrogens can mimic estrogen’s natural effect on the body. Endocrine disruptors can affect ovulation and the success of IVF treatment. Additionally, herbal products may contain other compounds that can interfere with the action of fertility drugs designed to stimulate ovulation. Men aren’t exempt, either. Testosterone-boosting supplements, for instance, can negatively impact sperm production. Sperm requires other vital hormones, and excess testosterone can suppress sperm quality.

Too much of a good thing

Some supplements may also increase the risk of side effects or complications during IVF treatment. This is usually due to over-supplementation, where too many vitamins and minerals lead to toxicity. For example, high doses of vitamin A can be toxic and may increase the risk of birth defects should an IVF patient get pregnant. In addition, multivitamins often contain much more than the daily recommended amount, which could negatively affect implantation. Over-the-counter (OTC) multivitamins can also contain additives that cause allergic reactions, potentially impacting the IVF process.

Helpful guidelines for successful IVF

During fertility treatment, disclose all current supplements and medications to the medical team. A medication review with a fertility pharmacist can help the team identify and remove harmful supplements. Most doctors will recommend stopping herbal supplements that can potentially disrupt hormones. When in doubt, ask a pharmacist about the active ingredient. Pharmacists are experts in medication and supplements and can tell if the patient is at risk. The team can recommend an alternative if a supplement, multivitamin, or other herbal drug is needed.

Navigate supplementation safely

While dietary supplements may benefit overall health, there is potential interference with fertility treatment. The use of supplements during IVF can be complex, and patients need to be well-informed about the potential risks and benefits. By following guidelines and consulting with a healthcare professional, IVF patients can increase the overall chances of success.

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