Artificial sweeteners, refined sugar and pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables may reduce the chances of IVF success in women, a new study has found. Researchers at Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health in the US studied In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) outcomes in relation to patient’s intake of fruits and vegetables (FV) known to be higher or lower in pesticide residues.
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Food intake questionnaires were administered to 300 women undergoing IVF treatment between 2007 and 2015. The questionnaires asked about specific FV categorised as having high or low-to-moderate pesticide residues.
The women’s medical records were reviewed for pregnancy and live birth data and their IVF outcomes were analysed accounting for different treatment specifics, age, BMI smoking, exercise and alcohol intake, as well as diet.
The women ate an average of one serving of high-residue FV and 2.5 servings of low-residue FV per day. Women in the quartile consuming the fewest high-pesticide FVs had a 46 per cent chance of having a live birth; those in the quartile consuming the most high-pesticide FVs had a 30 per cent chance of live birth.
The more high-pesticide FVs a woman consumed, the more likely she was to suffer a pregnancy loss with 46 per cent of pregnancies lost in the highest pesticide consuming quartile compared to a 14 per cent loss rate in the lowest pesticide consuming quartile.
Eating fruits and vegetables with low to moderate pesticide residues had no effect on patient’s IVF outcomes.
Researchers also found that both sugar and artificial sweeteners, consumed by female patients via soft drinks and in coffee, have a detrimental effect on the outcomes of IVF cycles with ICSI.
As many as 524 patients undergoing IVF with ICSI were interviewed by a nutrition professional before beginning treatment.
They answered questions about the foods they consumed, including soft drinks and coffee sweetened with sugar and artificial sweeteners.
The researchers found that consumption of soft drinks containing either sugar or artificial sweeteners affected egg quality for the worse, and diet soft drinks negatively affected embryo quality and reduced implantation and pregnancy rates.
Unsweetened coffee had no effect on egg quality, implantation, or chance of pregnancy, but patients using sugar in their coffee had poorer egg quality, and patients using artificial sweetener in their coffee had poorer egg quality, embryo quality, and reduced chances of implantation and pregnancy.