The preconception Mediterranean dietary pattern in couples undergoing in vitro fertilization/intracytoplasmic sperm injection treatment increases the chance of pregnancy

Fertil Steril. 2010 Nov;94(6):2096-101. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2009.12.079. Epub 2010 Mar 1.


Objective: To investigate associations between preconception dietary patterns and IVF/intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) outcomes validated by biomarkers of the homocysteine pathway.

Design: Observational prospective study.

Setting: A tertiary referral fertility clinic at the Erasmus University Medical Centre, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Patient(s): One hundred sixty-one couples undergoing IVF/ICSI treatment.

Intervention(s): No interventions other than the Dutch governmental recommendation of folic acid.

Main outcome measure(s): Dietary patterns, blood and follicular fluid concentrations of folate, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, homocysteine, and fertilization rate, embryo quality, and pregnancy.

Result(s): In women, two dietary patterns were identified. The "health conscious-low processed" dietary pattern (variation explained 12.1%) was characterized by high intakes of fruits, vegetables, fish, and whole grains and low intakes of snacks, meats, and mayonnaise, and positively correlated with red blood cell folate (β=0.07). The "Mediterranean" dietary pattern (variation explained 9.1%), that is, high intakes of vegetable oils, vegetables, fish, and legumes and low intakes of snacks, was positively correlated with red blood cell folate (β=0.13), and vitamin B6 in blood (β=0.09) and follicular fluid (β=0.18). High adherence by the couple to the "Mediterranean" diet increased the probability of pregnancy, odds ratio 1.4 (95% confidence interval 1.0-1.9).

Conclusion(s): A preconception "Mediterranean" diet by couples undergoing IVF/ICSI treatment contributes to the success of achieving pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Family Characteristics
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro / methods*
  • Humans
  • Infertility / diet therapy*
  • Male
  • Patient Compliance
  • Preconception Care / methods*
  • Pregnancy
  • Sperm Injections, Intracytoplasmic
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vegetables
  • Young Adult