The current article illustrates the role of diet and nutrition in the successful transfer and implantation of embryos through the IVF procedure. Embarking on this particular topic has, thus, initiated the need to differentiate between foods that can and cannot be eaten before undergoing embryo transfer.
Role of Diet and Nutrition Before Embryo Transfer
It has been learned that eating a healthy diet does increase/improve the likelihood of a successful embryo transfer, not to exclude implantation success that follows eventually. Maintaining healthy diet habits during embryo transfer also enhances hormonal balances, which are otherwise disrupted by the tendency to skip meals, thus disrupting the natural processes within the body apart from negatively impacting embryo implantation. When considering the best dietary intake before embryo/IVF transfer, it is also important to note here that these are meant to improve one’s chances of fertility. Diet significantly impacts IVF and embryo transfer outcomes, affecting reproductive organ function during these procedures.
How a proper diet intake works in ensuring a successful embryo transfer could be well explained by the way an embryo attaches itself to the uterine wall upon its implantation. Since it requires adequate levels of oxygen and nutrients to ensure its sustainability in a womb through to reaching its term, an expectant mother must include a proper diet that contains these ingredients. Moreover, the endometrial lining, which the embryo gets implanted into, should be strong enough to hold it as it grows throughout the pregnancy. This explains why a pregnant woman should intake more nutrients than she typically does before conceiving. Most importantly, a healthy and balanced diet helps improve progesterone levels that are essential to preparing the endometrial/uterine lining for pregnancy.
In all these stated, it would be appropriate to infer here that pregnancy, whether attained naturally or through assisted reproductive techniques, should consider the intake of proper diets for the purposes mentioned above. The Mediterranean diet boosts pregnancy odds, especially for under-35 non-obese women in IVF, backed by scientific study.
The Effectiveness of The Mediterranean Diet in Enhancing a Successful Embryo Transfer
It has been expertly recommended that a Mediterranean diet is best suited to the needs of IVF/embryo transfer, as proven by the studies that revealed the formation of more embryos in patients following this diet. As a side note, the Mediterranean diet combines healthy cuisines from regions, such as Italy, Spain, and Greece. It also refers to the style of eating in these countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The diet prioritizes whole foods like fruits, veggies, avocados, eggs, fish, healthy oils, poultry (chicken, turkey), nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Of note, red wine and red meat are also included within the Mediterranean diet, but need not be followed strictly because of their high fat content.
Per expert recommendations, one can effectively handle the Mediterranean diet by skipping food groups rich in fat and sugar, such as dairy products, red meat, candies, cakes, pastries, and processed/over-processed foods. Thus, what remains in this diet are lean meats like chicken, egg, and fish, fruits and vegetables in plenty (consider adding them in varied colors), healthy fats including healthy and good-quality olive oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds, whole grain pasta, quinoa, etc., and beans, chickpeas, lentils, and legumes for boosting fiber content. Of note, following these dietary suggestions may help someone stick to this diet regime. Prior to IVF, adhering to a healthy diet benefits embryo transfer success and a woman’s overall well-being.
Foods To Include (and Avoid) Before Embryo Transfer
The following categories of food have been considered best to include/avoid before embryo transfer.
|Food Groups To Consider Before Embryo Transfer||Food Groups To Avoid|
|Low–fat, low-sugar diet||High-sugar and high-fat (Candy, ice cream, red meat)|
|Lean meat (chicken)||Caffeinated drinks (soda)|
|Whole grains (bread, pasta, quinoa)||Fast-food and processed food items (French fries, chips, processed meat)|
|Healthy fats (olive oil)||Carbohydrates (White bread, rice, and potatoes)|
|Nuts and seeds (almonds, flaxseeds)||Trans fats (Margarine and baked food items, such as cakes and pastries)|
|Fresh fruits and vegetables||Salty food|
How Do Nutrients Influence Hormone Levels in IVF?
As previously mentioned, following a proper diet in pregnancy improves the level of required hormones in the body, that being progesterone, which is quintessential to preparing the endometrial lining for the safe implantation and growth of the embryo within the uterus. Again, regardless of whether one becomes pregnant through natural or assisted methods or technologies for conception, following a proper diet is a dire necessity. To this end, the following nutrients have been identified with their respective roles in improving progesterone levels:
Vitamin B6: Essential for producing steroid hormones, including progesterone. Foods rich in these micronutrients include poultry, fish, eggs, beef, and liver. However, it is advisable to avoid those containing a high amount of fat, such as red meat, including lamb and beef.
Vitamin C: Helps improve progesterone levels to a significant extent. Fruits and vegetables are good sources of vitamin C and include oranges, kiwis, strawberries, tangerines, papaya, bell peppers, etc. Intaking fruits and vegetables in increasing amounts is always safe and does no harm to the embryo intended to be implanted.
Zinc: This increases endometrial receptivity to prepare for the embryo to be successfully implanted within the uterine cavity and it assists in the maturation of the follicles in addition to improving progesterone levels.
Vitamin E: Thickens the endometrial lining apart from improving the amount of progesterone. Vitamin E is found in nuts, seeds, avocados, wheat, sunflower oil, beetroot, pumpkin, red bell pepper, fish, spinach, and peanut butter.
Whole grains: Enhances the level of endometrial receptivity and thickness to ensure the safe implantation and optimal growth of the embryo.
Fertility Supplements To Consider Before Embryo Transfer
In addition to the diet prescribed above, i.e., the Mediterranean diet, it is also wise to consider adding fertility supplements before and during IVF/embryo transfer. Physicians generally recommend taking prenatal vitamins 30 days before starting the IVF cycle. Doing so helps compensate for any sort of vitamin deficiency that women may have. Both partners (male and female) can consider taking multivitamins before preparing for IVF because it is known that these can improve sperm quality in males besides these helping with improving the chances of fertility in their female counterparts.
People have largely discussed the importance of the Mediterranean diet in discussions about the types of foods one can consume before embryo transfer. This diet is favored for its abundance of nutrients and micronutrients that can assist in the successful implantation of the embryo upon transfer. Apart from avoiding high-carb, high-salt, high-sugar, and high-fat-containing food products, individuals have recognized that essential nutrients like healthy fats, vitamins, zinc, and more, which are found in fruits, vegetables, bell peppers, whole grains like bread, and pasta, can effectively facilitate an IVF procedure, spanning from transfer to implantation.