I get asked every day whether there is a particular food or diet that one should take in order to improve their odds of conceiving. According to the Practice Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the Society of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Fertility rates clearly are decreased in women who are either very thin or obese, but data regarding the effects of normal variations in diet on fertility in ovulatory women are few.
According to one study performed in 2004 and published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, the time to conception increased two-fold in women who were obese (BMI > 35). Additionally, this study also found that the time to conception was increased four-fold for underweight women (BMI < 19).
Hence, a healthy diet to maintain an ideal BMI is preferable. The Practice Committee states further, Whereas a healthy lifestyle may help to improve fertility for women with ovulatory dysfunction, there is little evidence that dietary variations such as vegetarian diets, low-fat diets, vitamin-enriched diets, antioxidants, or herbal remedies improve fertility or affect infant gender.
The Practice committee cautions that Elevated blood mercury levels from heavy seafood consumption have been associated with infertility. Additionally, Women attempting to conceive should be advised to take a folic acid supplement (at least 400 mg daily) to reduce the risk for neural tube defects.
At Dallas IVF, we recommend a healthy diet with exercise to maintain an appropriate BMI. Talk to your infertility specialist if you have questions about diet and infertility.
Source: Fertility and Sterility, Volume 90, Issue 5, Page S3-4, November 2008, Authors: Practice Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine with the Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility
Dr. Lowell Ku, M.D. is an award winning and leading Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility specialist at Dallas IVF, one the nation’s premiere infertility centers. Dr. Ku clarifies the many confusing terms used in the world of Infertility using straightforward explanations.