Dr Ivy brings Nutrition to Genesis Fertility

This Tuesday I had the honor of being invited by Dr. David Kulak, M.D., the director of the Gamete Donation Program and the Reproductive Technology program at Genesis Fertility to present on nutrition and fertility to the rest of his medical team. You might not have already known that nutrition can impact every aspect of fertility for both men and women. It’s not just about vitamins and minerals either. Overconsumption of trans fats, refined carbohydrates, and animal proteins can negatively impact ovulation in women and obesity maybe one of the greatest (and correctable) factors leading to infertility in both men and women.

Here are a few highlights from my talk.

Weighing on Pregnancy

Being overweight or obese can greatly affect your chances of getting pregnant with or without fertility treatment. In fact, obesity accounts as the primary cause of infertility for about 6% of all infertility patients. With each unit increase of BMI (Body Mass Index), a woman’s chance of getting pregnant from spontaneous conception decreases by 5%. Women are not alone as men with BMIs over 25 have lower sperm counts and poor sperm motility and morphology. Basically obese and overweight men have more abnormally formed sperm. Even with IVF (In vitro fertilization) and IUI (intrauterine insemination), conception and birth rates are dramatically reduced when compared with women at a normal weight. Donor eggs, which tend to have the highest rate of successful pregnancies, still show to be less effective for obese women as the live birth rate for women with a BMI greater than 35 is 21% less than normal weight women.

Yikes! Good News please!

Yes there is good news. Weight loss has been shown to be very effective in helping obese and overweight women get pregnant. In patients, whose infertility is specifically due to weight, weight loss will lead to spontaneous conception in up to 70% of women. Studies have shown that losing as little as 5-10% of body weight can dramatically improve the chances of pregnancy occurring.

All Hail the Mediterranean Diet

Not only have many studies shown that the Mediterranean diet can lead to sustainable long term weight loss (not to mention its cardiac and anti-diabetic benefits), it could be the ideal dietary approach for future moms and dads. On the weight loss band wagon, because the Mediterranean diet promotes slow weight loss, it doesn’t have the same negative impact on egg quality, fertilization and IVF treatments that crash diets do. In general, women, who follow a Mediterranean diet, have 44% less difficulty in conceiving naturally and 66% better chance of conceiving while undergoing IVF. This is thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids and high folate and Vitamin B6 content of diet.

Mom and Dad’s Nutritional Nemesis

Yes the Mediterranean diet is all well and good but there are some things future moms and dads will want to avoid if they want to get pregnant. For women surprisingly it could be how they are starting their day. Cold breakfast cereals especially those sugar ladened and low fiber could be the worst thing for hope-to-be-moms to eat. Cold breakfast cereals are very high in the glycemic index meaning that it can negatively impact blood glucose leading to anovulatory cycles. If you are having yours with skim milk even worse! Now dads you are not off the hook! The foods that are doing you no favors are junk foods particularly those containing cotton seed oil like chips and even “healthier” choices like graham crackers and pretzels. The gossypol found in cotton seed actually harms sperm and has been considered as a form of male birth control. Also the saturated fats and hydrogenated oils found in these snacks can reduce sperm formation and activity. Not to mention the weight gain (in case you forgot)!

Do you and your partner want to improve fertility for a healthy and natural pregnancy? Then schedule a naturopathic appointment with Dr Ivy.