In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

Can nutrients improve treatment success for In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)?

IVF is one of the most popular assisted reproductive technologies (ART) used for the treatment of infertility. It involves the use of varying medication protocols (or in some cases without drugs) to help stimulate the development of follicles on the ovary. When the maximum number of follicles are produced and are at the optimal size an egg retrieval is done to obtain as many of the produced follicles. The eggs are matured and fertilized in vitro (outside of the body) and when an embryo reaches optimal growth (i.e. day 5 blastocyst stage in most cases) it is transferred in to the uterine environment, with the hope that the embryo implants and leads to a successful pregnancy.

 

Currently, the success rates for IVF are low, estimated to be approximately < 30% for a single embryo transfer. So there is a need for additional therapies which can help to improve positive IVF outcomes. In fact, Canada is one of the few countries where IVF success rates have decreased between 2004-2016 [1].

 

Various nutrients have been shown in clinical studies over the last decade or so to potential improve the chances of a successful pregnancy with IVF. 

 

Vitamin D supplementation has been shown to help improve success with IVF by approximately 6% [2]. It seems to have a role in follicle development and sex-hormone production in the adrenal gland. To illustrate the potential benefits of such a cost-effective vitamin, a systematic review published in 2018 found that vitamin d deficiency reduced the chances of a successful IVF by approximately 26% in the deficient group [3].

 

Another important nutrient is Coenzyme Q10, which has been shown to significantly improve fertility by supporting egg quality and reducing the risk of chromosomal issues in the eggs [4].

 

In addition to these two nutrients there are many more evidence based protocols for males and females that have been shown to improve success rates for IVF.

 

References:

  1. Gleicher, N., Kushnir, V. A., & Barad, D. H. (2019). Worldwide decline of IVF birth rates and its probable causes. Human Reproduction Open, 2019(3).

  2. Skowrońska, P., Pastuszek, E., Kuczyński, W., Jaszczoł, M., Kuć, P., Jakiel, G., Łukaszuk, K. (2016). The role of vitamin D in reproductive dysfunction in women – a systematic review. Annals of Agricultural and Environmental Medicine, 23(4), 671–676.

  3. Zhao, J., Huang, X., Xu, B., Yan, Y., Zhang, Q., & Li, Y. (2018). Whether vitamin D was associated with clinical outcome after IVF/ICSI: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, 16(1).

  4. Özcan, P., Fıçıcıoğlu, C., Kizilkale, O., Yesiladali, M., Tok, O. E., Ozkan, F., & Esrefoglu, M. (2016). Can Coenzyme Q10 supplementation protect the ovarian reserve against oxidative damage? Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics, 33(9), 1223–1230.

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