Where’s the IVF? The Link Between Beef and IVF Success

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Attention, men: Your beloved meats might be assisting or damaging your fertility, a new study stated recently.

While the research cannot confirm cause and effect, it shows that males involved in fertility treatment that ate a lot of refined meats —bacon, sausage and the like — had scanty success, while those who ate more chicken or other poultry had better outcomes.

“Many studies have shown that diet can affect human fertility, but our diets are so complex that it is difficult to tease out how particular food types may affect reproductive outcomes,” Dr. Rebecca Sokol, president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, said in a society news release.

“This study suggests that the type of meat a man consumes may influence his sperm‘s ability to fertilize an egg,” she said. “Eating a healthy diet is an easy change to make, and worth making for reproductive health as well as overall health.”

Another expert agreed.

“Decreasing processed-meat consumption can now be added to the list of recommendations — such as to stop smoking, decrease alcohol consumption and lose weight — that we can offer to men prior to fertility treatments to optimize outcomes,” said Dr. Natan Bar-Chama, director of male reproductive medicine and surgery at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

A team led by Dr. Wei Xia, of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, presented their findings online in Fertility & Sterility.

In their study, Xia’s team followed outcomes of 141 men from couples undergoing IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) at Massachusetts General Hospital. The men gave the scoop about their diet, along with total meat intake and the sort of meat they ate.

The study established no connection between men’s total meat intake and the rate of fruitful fertilization through IVF, either with or without the use of another procedure called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

Nonetheless, the fertilization rate for both types of IVF was 13% greater among men who consumed the most poultry, in comparison with those men who ate the least amount of poultry (78% versus 65%), the researchers found.

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