For more than 20 years, millions of women have successfully utilized In vitro fertilization (IVF) as a reproductive treatment. Doctors advise women to consider IVF if all other attempts at conception have failed if they have endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, blocked or absent fallopian tubes, or if they suffer from any other condition that affects fertility. Hormones that encourage the creation of several eggs rather than just one are injected by doctors to begin the IVF procedure. When more than one egg is found, the eggs are collected and mixed with sperm in a lab dish. An embryo is delivered to a woman’s uterus when it reaches the mature blastocyst stage, at which point a typical pregnancy is anticipated to begin.
There are many strategies and tactics available for attempting to conceive that guarantee to increase the likelihood of conception. However, women undergoing IVF should follow a Mediterranean diet to increase their chances of becoming pregnant rather than using supplements, according to a study published in The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology published a study titled “Mediterranean Diet May Help Women Receiving IVF Achieve Successful Pregnancies.” The researchers discovered that women who followed a Mediterranean diet for six months before undergoing IVF had a “significantly better chance” of becoming pregnant and giving birth than women who did not eat foods associated with the diet. According to the study’s findings, women who ate less or no red meat and more fruit, vegetables, seafood, whole grains, legumes, and vegetable oils had a 65–68% higher chance of becoming pregnant and giving birth than women who followed the Mediterranean diet to the “lowest degree.”
What are the Benefits of a Mediterranean Diet for a Successful IVF Procedure?
The Mediterranean diet places a strong emphasis on plant-based foods such as nuts, legumes, whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits, and vegetables. It also emphasises lean protein sources like fish and chicken as well as olive oil, which is a healthy form of fat. A strictly Mediterranean diet typically excludes red meat and salt. Mediterranean diet dishes are flavoured with spices and herbs rather than high-calorie, high-fat condiments.
Antioxidants and the Outcome of IVF
Antioxidants are chemicals that prevent other molecules from oxidising and destroying themselves. The Mediterranean diet is rich in these kinds of molecules. Since molecules make up cells, eating foods high in antioxidants shields the body’s cells from free radicals, which are other molecules that damage good molecules and cells. The cells that make up a woman’s eggs, reproductive hormone glands, and reproductive organs are susceptible to harm from an excess of free radicals. While a woman is undergoing in vitro fertilisation, eating foods from the Mediterranean diet can help maintain glands and organs operating at their best and considerably reduce the damage caused by free radicals.
Omega-6 Fat Acids and the Outcome of IVF
A key component of a Mediterranean diet is the use of healthy vegetable oils. Vegetable oils, which are high in omega-6 fatty acids, give the body the precursors it needs to produce prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are a unique kind of hormone that is not secreted by glands; rather, the body produces them on demand. Prostaglandins are involved in the regulation of a woman’s reproductive system; they also regulate ovulation and initiate labour by inducing contractions of the uterine muscles.
Dr Shobha Gupta, Medical Director, Gynecologist and IVF Expert from Mother’s Lap IVF Centre, New Delhi and Vrindavan says, “First of all IVF treatment success depends on several factors like ovarian reserve, or the quantity and quality of eggs in your ovaries, ovarian stimulation, fertilisation, embryo growth, and implantation are just a few of the many variables. A successful pregnancy that goes to term requires the optimisation of numerous complex steps. Furthermore, most people undergoing IVF already battle with infertility, which might make it even harder to guarantee that the procedure will be successful.”
She asserts that adopting the Mediterranean diet would be a straightforward nutritional strategy to support IVF conception and that taking supplements of omega-3 fatty acids would also be beneficial. Folate pills or folic acid should be used by all women who are trying to conceive.
The Mediterranean diet, which is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats like nuts and olive oil, is often regarded as a healthful eating pattern.
According to Dr Shobha Gupta following a Mediterranean diet may help improve fertility since it may have a positive impact on variables including hormone balance, oxidative stress, and inflammation, according to some research. Still, there is a lot of study to be done in this field, and different studies have produced different findings. Also, these findings cannot be generalised to all women trying to become pregnant, nor to obese women, a category excluded from the study”.
“It is important to note that fertility is a multifaceted matter that is impacted by an array of factors, such as age, genetics, lifestyle choices, and underlying medical disorders. No one diet will work better than another for fertility treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF), even though a good diet is generally advised for overall well-being,” concludes Dr Shobha Gupta.