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August 26: Fertility Health Checks Learn More

Eating Your Way to IVF Success

Avocado helps with fertility

New Study Shows that a Diet High in Monounsaturated Fats Can Increase IVF Success Rates


The next time you are out to lunch, you may want to think twice before ordering a sirloin steak dripping in butter sauce, and opt instead for a Cobb salad with a light dressing. This is because researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health have found a connection between eating avocado and olive oil, and an increase in success rates for women undergoing In-Vitro Fertilization.

The study found that the women who ate the highest amounts of monounsaturated fats, like those found in avocados, were 3.4 times more likely to conceive than their counterparts who ate diets low in monounsaturated fats and high in saturated fats, like those found in butter. The study, of 147 women undergoing IVF at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center, found that women who ate high levels of monounsaturated fats produced more Metaphase Level II oocytes.

In an interview with the UK’s Daily Mail, Professor Chavarro, assistant professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Healthcare, and head of the study, explained that, “only metaphase II oocytes can be used for IVF.” Since the study showed that women who ate diets high in saturated fats produced fewer metaphase II oocytes, Professor Chavarro went on to say that, “having fewer mature oocytes can mean fewer embryos to choose from for fresh transfer or future transfer following cryopreservation, particularly among women who respond poorly to ovarian stimulation.”

This study conducted by Harvard School of Public Health, was presented at ESHRE (the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology), in Istanbul in July 2012, and was the first to document a connection between the types of dietary fats a woman consumed, and their success at achieving pregnancy via IVF. The study also showed that women who ate diets high in monounsaturated fats went on to achieve higher rates of live births.

For more tips on eating a healthy diet for fertility, click here or watch our video.