Use of IVF has increased dramatically as many couples struggle with sub-optimal fertility; however its not just couples with fertility issues opting for IVF, I also see women who are seeking naturopathic assistance to enhance their egg quality as they are freezing their eggs pro-actively due to not having a partner or not being quite ready to have children; naturopathic assistance to improve egg quality for IVF may also be used for those in a same sex relationship using. While factors such as age, are non modifiable factors that have been documented as influencing IVF success, improving nutrient status is an easy way to improve the success of IVF, an important factor to consider considering the costs both financially and emotionally of multiple unsuccessful IVF attempts.
While IVF success rates have improved dramatically in the last (80.1% live birth rate by cycle five in the 2006-2010 cohort), the better the quality of a woman’s starting eggs (oocytes) the better the chance of a viable pregnancy – this is where naturopathic support can help.
Multiple studies have shown that nutrient status impacts IVF outcomes. Supplementation with micronutrients has been shown to improve clinical outcomes of IVF therapy manifested through higher pregnancy rates and/or live birth rate – put simply – women undergoing IVF who supplement with nutrients are more likely to fall pregnant and keep the baby .
While a quality diet is the foundation for good quality eggs, every woman should be on a high quality preconception multivitamin which contains adequate levels of important nutrients such as folate & iodine.
There are also three other supplements that I highly recommend to improve the quality of the oocyte thus improving IVF outcomes:
- First of the block is myo-inositol (MYO), one of the most well studied nutrients for improving IVF outcomes.
- It is a B vitamin and has specific actions in the ovary where is helps with uptake of glucose as well as signalling of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH).
- MYO helps the ooycte (egg) mature & also assists with fertilisation via regulation of calcium signalling.
- It also acts as a second messenger to regulate other important hormones such as TSH & insulin as well as feel good neurotransmitters such as serotonin.
- Taking MYO prior to IVF has been shown to improve oocyte (egg) & embryo quality as well as reduce the amount of gonadotrophins required .
- Supplementation with MYO has also been shown to reduce the number of days required for stimulation.
- Coenzyme Q10 is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to preserve the quality of the oocytes (eggs), particularly with regards to the decline that occurs as women get older.
- Women who consumed coenzyme Q10 prior to IVF had more ooctyes (eggs) retrieved, the embryos were also of higher quality, improving pregnancy outcomes and reducing risk of miscarriage
- Coenzyme Q10 is also amazing for improving male sperm, so if you have a partner, this is one supplement you can share.
ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS
- Fatty acids play an important role in the quality and of the oocyte (egg) and the ability of the embryo to implant.
- While consumption of trans fats (such as margarine, fried foods ) have been shown to be associated with poor IVF, consumption of healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids has been shown to quicken the rate of embryo development after IVF, with embryos also displaying improved morphology.
As everyone has different needs, it is goes without saying that each person should be assessed individually. If you are struggling with having a baby or choosing to do IVF and want to improve your outcome, contact Lisa for a confidential appointment today.
- Wade JJ1,2, MacLachlan V2, Kovacs G3,4. The success rate of IVF has significantly improved over the last decade Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol. 2015 Oct;55(5):473-6. doi: 10.1111/ajo.12356. Epub 2015 Jul 14.
- Arhin SK1, Zhao Y1, Lu X1, Chetry M1, Lu J2. Effect of micronutrient supplementation on IVF outcomes: a systematic review of the literature. Reprod Biomed Online. 2017 Dec;35(6):715-722. doi: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2017.08.018. Epub 2017 Aug 30.
- Zheng X1, Lin D, Zhang Y, Lin Y, Song J, Li S, Sun Y. Inositol supplement improves clinical pregnancy rate in infertile women undergoing ovulation induction for ICSI or IVF-ET 2017 Dec;96(49):e8842. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000008842.
- Hammiche F, Vujkovic M, Wijburg W, de Vries JH, Macklon NS, Laven JS, Steegers-Theunissen RP. Increased preconception omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid intake improves embryo morphology. Fertil Steril. 2011;95(5):1820–1823. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2010.11.021