The Ideal IVF Diet
Thousands of couples decide to move forward with fertility treatment to start or grow a family every year. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the most successful type of fertility treatment available. However, IVF requires a total commitment, including hormone medication, testing, and timed medical procedures. Women and men undergoing fertility treatment are encouraged to practice healthy habits during this time. An essential part of IVF treatment is maintaining a healthy diet. As a precaution, the fertility doctor may suggest patients avoid these 4 foods.
1. Processed meats
Sliced deli meats, hot dogs, bacon, and other packaged products are fast, convenient, and tasty. For fertility patients, however, this food may pose a risk. Some studies have revealed that men with a steady diet of red meats had decreased sperm quality. Women should also avoid or cut back on processed meats as the food may negatively affect fertility. Remove processed meat from the fridge while on IVF treatment for the best chance of success.
2. Artificial sweeteners and refined sugars
Simple packs of sweeteners for coffee and tea may not be best for fertility. Refined sugars are present in diet sodas and other fizzy drinks. High sugar levels hurt the body. Small studies have shown the excess sugar content from consuming multiple sodas a day affects male and female fertility. In addition, sugar can cause insulin sensitivity or diabetes, which can lead to infertility.
3. Leave simple carbs alone
Bread, pasta, cakes, and baked goods contain simple carbohydrates and refined sugars. These foods spike endorphins and dopamine. When consumed in excess, these foods quickly turn into simple sugars that spike insulin levels. Simple carbohydrates also increase inflammation in the body, which can impact fertility.
4. Seafood high in mercury
Fish is filled with omega-3s, which are excellent for overall health. Adding some fish to a healthy diet can help. However, some fish types have very high mercury levels. Mercury is a heavy metal that can end up in rivers and streams. The metal can pass onto fish like tuna, sardines, mackerel, halibut, and marlin. Studies show that mercury can lead to infertility, miscarriage, and birth defects. Avoid fish high in mercury during IVF treatment and pregnancy.
What should you eat instead?
During IVF, the goal is to have a steady supply of the vitamins and minerals that promote fertility. Both men and women should eat foods rich in iron, folate, vitamin B12, and vitamin C. Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean, organic protein provide a steady supply of these nutrients.
Prepare for fertility success
The IVF process can take time and consists of hormone medication, fertilization, and embryo implantation. During each stage, the couple must remain healthy, and a balanced diet is essential. Foods like processed meats, refined sugars, and certain fish may harm fertility. While most studies are not definitive, couples should err on the side of caution to increase the chances of pregnancy.