The Fertility Show, Manchester Central, 24-25 March 2018
Page URL:

Coffee and saturated fats not good for IVF success, studies say

9 July 2012
Appeared in BioNews 664

Drinking more than five cups of coffee a day or having a diet with too much saturated fat could adversely affect the chances of success of fertility treatment.

These are the conclusions of two separate - and as yet unpublished - studies presented at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Istanbul, Turkey.

Dr Ulrik Kesmodel, a gynaecologist at the Aarhus University Hospital Fertility Clinic in Denmark presented a follow-up study on 3,959 women who had IVF or ICSI. One in 20 patients reported drinking more than five cups of coffee a day at the start of their treatment.

These women were half as likely to become pregnant as those who did not drink coffee and their chance of a live birth was reduced by 40 percent, although this latter trend was not statistically significant.

No significant effect was observed for patients drinking less than five cups per day. The study's authors conclude that if their research is accurate, the effect of consuming five cups or more of coffee a day would be comparable to the detrimental effect of smoking on reducing clinical pregnancy.

Dr Kesmodel said: 'There is limited evidence about coffee in the literature, so we would not wish to worry IVF patients unnecessarily. But it does seem reasonable, based on our results and the evidence we have about coffee consumption during pregnancy, that women should not drink more than five cups of coffee a day when having IVF'.

The study specifically investigated the effect of coffee consumption, rather than looking at all caffeinated beverages. Dr Kesmodel said that, as a result, 'the assumption is that caffeine is the culprit although we don't really know. There are so many substances within coffee'.

BBC News reported the response of the British Coffee Association's executive director, Dr Euan Paul. He said: 'For pregnant women or those trying to conceive, an upper limit of 200 milligrams of caffeine per day is perfectly safe. This is the equivalent of 2 to 3 cups of coffee'.

A second study, presented by Dr Jorge Chavarro, assistant professor of nutrition from the Harvard School of Public Health in the USA, looked at the relation between dietary fat intake and treatment outcomes for 147 IVF patients.

The study found that women who had more saturated fats in their diet, such as those found in butter and meat, had fewer eggs available for collection during IVF.

Conversely, greater consumption of monounsaturated fats, such as those found in olive oil and avocados, was associated with an increase in live birth rate. However, there were too few women in the study for researchers to measure how important this effect was.

Dr Chavarro admitted that the findings were tentative: 'This is the first time to our knowledge that dietary fats have been linked to treatment outcome in IVF. So it is important that our results are replicated in other studies before making strong recommendations about fat intake to women having infertility treatment'.

14 November 2016 - by Lone Hørlyck 
A compound found in liquorice can have adverse effects on follicle growth and sex hormone production in mouse ovaries...
30 August 2016 - by Purvi Shah 
Scientists have identified a gene variation that could influence the amount of caffeine a person consumes....
28 April 2014 - by Professor Tom Fleming 
Increasing evidence, mainly from animal studies, suggests that eggs and very early embryos in the first few days after conception can be particularly sensitive to their environment with lifetime consequences including risk of diseases into adulthood...
11 February 2013 - by Dr Linda Wijlaars 
Physical activity is strongly associated with men's sperm quality according to a study looking into the effects of TV viewing and exercise...
10 December 2012 - by Rachel Lloyd 
I had a front row seat for session three of Progress Educational Trust's 2012 annual conference 'Fertility Treatment: A life-changing event?'. This session was entitled 'Weighing up your options: The impact of weight and nutrition'...
8 October 2012 - by Dr Lux Fatimathas 
Scratching the womb lining may increase a woman's chances of successful IVF treatment, say UK scientists...
18 June 2012 - by Helen Brooks 
An unhealthy lifestyle may not affect sperm quality as much as previously thought. A study in the journal Human Reproduction indicates that smoking, high alcohol consumption and being overweight all have little effect on semen quality...
5 December 2011 - by Dr Caroline Hirst 
Women receiving fertility treatment are more likely to become pregnant if they take multivitamin supplements, reports a UK pilot study...
20 December 2010 - by Dr Lux Fatimathas 
US researchers have shown a correlation between human egg quality and blood bisphenol A (BPA) levels. In a small-scale study women with higher blood BPA levels showed...
4 October 2010 - by Matthew Smart 
Researchers have found a molecule that they believe plays a key role in ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) - a potentially life-threatening condition that can arise from IVF treatment....
2 February 2009 - by Dian Shepperson Mills 
Eating is something we do every day. It sustains us and keeps us healthy, and poor food choice can make us unhealthy. The maturing ova, sperm, endometrium and fetus depend upon nutrients for development. If the diet is laced with environmental endocrine-disrupting chemicals, trans-fats, refined sugars, or excess additives, or...
Log in to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions

Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.