How to optimise the success of your fertility treatment
So, you may have had trouble conceiving in the past year and you have now decided to undertake the next step and see a fertility specialist in order to start some fertility treatment and IVF may be on the cards. You may have heard that diet and lifestyle play important roles in optimising the success of fertility treatments such as IVF but you may be wondering what you can do with your diet and why is it so important. Well, read on to find out.
When it comes to nutrition and fertility, more and more studies are showing that diet can play a role in influencing sperm health, egg health, the health of the uterus and so much more! Since all of these things are needed for a healthy pregnancy, they definitely will impact the success of IVF.
So, let’s look at some key components of a fertility diet that you want to start incorporating.
1. Healthy eggs
Without healthy eggs, you are less likely to get pregnant, will have more DNA damage in your eggs and you are more likely to miscarriage. Sounds scary, right? Luckily, diet can improve our egg quality. Now, I know you are thinking that a fertility specialist will work to identify the eggs that are healthiest but, ideally, you want to make sure that all your eggs are as healthy as possible.
Since it takes approximately three months for our eggs to mature, ideally, you would start making dietary changes for a minimum of three months before egg collection. Now, there are a number of things that we can do to help improve our egg health, but my top tips include:
- Make sure you are eating oily fish two to three times per week.
- If you don’t like fish or you are vegetarian/vegan, then you may wish to consider an omega 3 supplement
- Get enough antioxidants (fruit and veg are your best sources - make sure you are hitting your 5 a day and including a variety in your diet.
- Ideally, take a prenatal supplement three months before conception. A tailored prenatal supplement regime just for you would be even better!
2. Healthy sperm
OK, it takes two to tango right? So we must also look at sperm health and not just focus on egg health. Diet can impact all things of sperm quality such as DNA damage within the sperm (damaged sperm can not only decrease the chance of fertilising the egg but also increase the risk of miscarriage!), the motility of the sperm (the ability of the sperm to swim in the correct direction towards the egg) and also the structure of the sperm.
My top tip for men is to decrease the quantity of saturated and trans fat in their diet (these types of fats are commonly found in butter, coconut oil, lard, pastries, the visible fat on meat and fried foods of cakes, biscuits and some types of margarine).
Men are also encouraged to increase their consumption of oily fish. Again, aiming for two to three portions per week. Since it also takes approximately three months for sperm to mature (as is the case for women), men should also ideally start to make dietary changes three months before any fertility treatment.
3. A welcoming uterus
So, now we have a fertilised egg and now it’s an embryo - yay! But, we also need a welcoming uterus to accept this embryo and allow the embryo to firmly implant itself within the lining. No implantation means no pregnancy. This all sounds a bit too sciencey, right? Essentially, your embryo wants to snuggle up in a nice home. And that’s what your uterus will be for the next nine months.
For your embryo, a nice home means a thick uterus lining to help keep it safe and well-nourished. And, yes, you guessed it again! Nutrition can influence the lining of the uterus. My top tips here include switching from white carbohydrates to wholegrain varieties, stocking up daily on your leafy greens and having a daily handful of brazil nuts.
Making dietary changes can be overwhelming. That’s why having a dietitian to tailor it for you and provide you with an individualised, step-by-step guide can be extremely helpfulwhen it comes to starting or growing your family. So, book in for your free discovery call to find out exactly how I can support you.
In the meantime, to help you get started and make this much easier for you, I have created a free, simple how to build a fertility meal plan guide that you can use to create fertility-friendly meals - whether that be a pasta bowl, a sandwich or a salad.