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These Are the Foods That Can Help—and Hinder—Your IVF Success Rate

If you’ve considered in vitro fertilization (IVF), studies suggest that proper nutrition plays an important role in the process. A higher protein diet consisting of at least 40 percent total protein daily will greatly improve the quality of oocytes (eggs), embryos and overall cycle outcome. The Delaware Institute for Reproductive Medicine recommends adding—and removing—the following types of foods from your diet to increase pregnancy success rates.


1. Avoid simple carbohydrates.

They are quickly broken down by the body, causing sharp increases in glucose and insulin levels. Examples of simple carbohydrates include white bread, pasta, rice, sugar and potatoes, plus processed and prepackaged goods including baked goods, sweets and candy.

2. Choose complex carbohydrates. 

They take longer for your body to digest, and therefore increase your glucose level more slowly. These include vegetables, fresh fruit (with a limit on bananas and pineapple, which are high in sugar), whole-grain breads, bran cereal, buckwheat, barley, oat bran and sprouted grains.

3. Choose high-protein, nutritionally dense snacks.

Replace your trips to the vending machine with healthier options, including a Laughing Cow cheese wedge with cucumber slices, hard-boiled eggs, mozzarella string cheese, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt (verify that the protein count is higher than the carbohydrate count), roasted pumpkin seeds and edamame.

4. Avoid sodas and juices.

Many are full of non-nutritional carbs. Try to avoid artificial sweeteners, because they'll make you crave more sweets. Instead, sip on water (add cucumber, lemon or another fruit for flavor), unsweetened iced tea or unsweetened almond milk.

5. Stay on track with an app.

My Fitness Pal, for example, will help you create a food journal of your daily food intake, offer healthy meal ideas and track your protein-to-carbohydrate ratios. (To track your protein and carbohydrate ratios, simply click the “nutrition” button to see a pie chart of your daily macronutrient intake. To see the breakdown of carbs, fat and protein, click “macros.”) 40 percent or more of your daily caloric intake should come from protein, while less than 30 percent of your daily caloric intake should come from carbohydrates.

Read more about nutrition and alternative medicines on the Delaware Institute for Reproductive Medicine's websitePatients can also join the DIRM Nutrition Facebook group.

The Delaware Institute for Reproductive Medicine is one of a handful of local clinics that offers the techniques, including IVF and PGS, for gender/sex selection for nonmedical reasons.

For over 30 years, Dr. Jeffrey Russell has provided reproductive technology, resulting in the births of over 6,000 babies to thousands of couples with dreams of starting or increasing their family. He is Yale University-trained and double board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive endocrinology. He has always been on the cutting edge of reproductive technology, from the first IVF pregnancy in Delaware to the first ICSI pregnancy in the region. He continues to break ground, being the first to provide genetic testing on embryos (PGS/D) for both genetic disorders and family balancing. Dr. Russell practices in both Newark and Milford, Del.


4745 Ogletown-Stanton Road, Suite 111
Newark, DE 19713

556 South DuPont Blvd., Suite H
Milford, DE 19956

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