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Besides ageing, a number of non-modifiable lifestyle-related factors - such as smoking, excessive consumption of caffeine and alcohol, stress, agonist sports, chronic exposure to environmental pollutants, and other nutritional habits - have a negative impact on fertility. In particular, metabolic disorders such as diabetes, obesity, and hyperlipidemia commonly associated with hypercaloric diets are also known to affect fertility - in both men and women.

In such a situation, In vitro fertilization (IVF) is an effective way for couples to get pregnant despite a variety of male and female infertility conditions. IVF is a fertility treatment in which a woman’s egg and a man’s sperm are combined in a laboratory in order to achieve fertilization. After growing the fertilized egg (embryo) for several days in an incubator, one or more embryos are transferred to the uterus to achieve a pregnancy.

Once you have decided to opt for IVF, it is a good idea to start monitoring your diet. If your weight is too high or too low, it can affect fertility adversely and reduces the chance of you getting pregnant. So, starting with an excellent diet along with your medicine and injections can be a game-changer!

  1. IVF diet: what women should eat
  2. IVF diet for men
  3. What not to eat during IVF treatment and other diet tips
  4. Indian diet plan during IVF treatment
Doctors for IVF diet: what to eat, not to eat for women and men

During IVF, you may benefit from making some dietary changes. The diet discussed here will not only increase the chances of success of IVF, but you will also be better prepared for pregnancy. As a part of this diet, you will have to include some nutrients in your diet, such as zinc. Let's know more!

Add zinc-rich diet to improve your hormone levels

Zinc helps to regulate your hormones, which is essential during IVF treatment. It helps to balance your hormones which helps your body to make the procedure successful. Try to add whole grains, dry fruits (almonds, walnut, sunflower seeds), milk and milk products, potato, etc in your daily diet.

IVF diet to improve egg quality

Folic acid helps to improve egg quality in women. If you've been trying to conceive for a long time and you are not taking sufficient folic acid in your diet, you should fix this right away. Folic acid is not only important for egg quality, but it is also helpful in minimising pregnancy-related complications. Even if your doctor has already prescribed folic acid supplements for you, you can still add it in your diet for better absorption. This can be done by eating green leafy vegetables (spinach, fenugreek leaves, etc) egg, chickpea, kidney bean (rajma), and sprouts regularly.

Try to take a good amount of protein

Protein is one of the best nutrients for hormones, fertility, and the reproductive system. This makes protein one of the most essential nutrients during this treatment. To increase the amount of protein in your diet, try to take one protein-rich food in each meal. You can have lentils, milk and milk products, egg or chicken.  

During IVF, on average, your body needs 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of your ideal body weight. Your protein intake also depends on your height, weight, age, work, and current medical condition. For a detailed personalised assessment of your requirement, you should discuss this with your nutritionist.

(Read more: Protein-rich foods)

Eat seasonal fruits and vegetables

Seasonal fruits and vegetables are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which are helpful in making your IVF procedure successful. In fruits, you can have apples, oranges, sweet lime, pear, muskmelon, peach, plum. In vegetables, you can have potatos, carrots, green peas, eggplant, bell pepper, bottle gourd, sponge gourd, spinach, fenugreek leaves, and amaranth.

(Read more: Vitamins and minerals you need during pregnancy)

An important thing to remember - soak your fruits and vegetables in salt and water for 10-15 minutes and wash them properly to remove pesticides and other chemicals. If you can, go for organic foods only.

And lastly, a few fruits and vegetables such as raw papaya and pineapple increase uterus contractions, which can be harmful during this procedure. Try to avoid them.

(Read more: Top 10 Vitamins for Women's Health)

Male infertility usually involves either low quantity or quality of sperm.

So, before starting IVF treatment, men should also take up a diet that may help to increase the quantity and quality of sperm. This can go a long way in making the procedure successful. Try to work on your diet and lifestyle starting at least six months before starting with the IVF treatment.

(Read more: Male fertility test)

There are some foods that help improve male fertility. Garlic, for instance, contains a good amount of vitamin B6 and selenium, which play an important role in healthy sperm production. You can have 2-4 raw garlic cloves every day.

There is also research now that shows that the consumption of omega 3 fatty acids can be beneficial for the quality and quantity of sperms. To increase the amount of omega 3 fatty acids in your diet, you can take walnut, flax seeds, fatty fish, and cod liver oil regularly.

(Read more: How to increase sperm count)

If you want to improve the chances of success of your IVF treamtent, there are a few other things you should keep in mind:

  • Caffeine-rich drinks can give a negative impact on this treatment. So, it is best to avoid tea, coffee, dark-coloured soft drinks, and energy drinks.
  • Avoid seafood. Seafood is rich in mercury, which is harmful to the fetus before and during pregnancy.
  • Research studies have shown that say that artificial sweeteners can be harmful if you are planning to conceive. Try to avoid them. (Read more: Stevia side effects)
  • Raw egg and raw meat can cause different types of bacterial infection that can increase the risk of unsuccessful IVF, and miscarriage as well. So cook your poultry and meat properly before having it.
  • Junk foods and preservatives can cause hormonal imbalance and miscarriage, so stop it before your IVF treatment.
  • Alcohol and smoking have a negative impact on the success of IVF treatment as well. It is best to stop these well in advance of starting your treatment. (Read more: Benefits of quitting smoking)
  • Try to avoid lifting heavy weights during this treatment. Light exercise can help to make your treatment successful. But before starting it, discuss your situation with your doctor first. (Read more: Weight training)

Here's a diet plan that you can follow keeping in mind all the dietary advice given above. All the components of this diet plan for a lady going through IVF have been chosen with Indian food habits and availability in mind. So, you should find it very easy to source them, and follow this diet plan! 

  • Early morning: warm water + soaked almonds (6) + walnuts (2) + raisins (6-8)
  • Breakfast: paneer sandwich (2) + strawberry smoothie (1 glass)
  • Mid meal: mixed fruit salad with roasted nuts and seeds (1 big bowl)
  • Lunch: vegetable pulao (1 bowl) + rajma (1 bowl) + spong gourd curry (1 bowl) + salad (1 small plate)
  • Evening tea: non-caffeine green tea (1 cup) + roasted makhana (1 bowl)
  • Dinner: vegetable soup (1 bowl) + palak chapati (2) + paneer curry (1 bowl) 
  • Bedtime: kesar milk (1 glass)
Dt. Akanksha Mishra

Dt. Akanksha Mishra

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Dr. priyamwada

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