Background: Subfertility and poor nutrition are increasing problems in Western countries. Moreover, nutrition affects fertility in both women and men. In this study, we investigate the association between adherence to general dietary recommendations in couples undergoing IVF/ICSI treatment and the chance of ongoing pregnancy.
Methods: Between October 2007 and October 2010, couples planning pregnancy visiting the outpatient clinic of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, the Netherlands were offered preconception counselling. Self-administered questionnaires on general characteristics and diet were completed and checked during the visit. Six questions, based on dietary recommendations of the Netherlands Nutrition Centre, covered the intake of six main food groups (fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, whole wheat products and fats). Using the questionnaire results, we calculated the Preconception Dietary Risk score (PDR), providing an estimate of nutritional habits. Dietary quality increases with an increasing PDR score. We define ongoing pregnancy as an intrauterine pregnancy with positive heart action confirmed by ultrasound. For this analysis we selected all couples (n=199) who underwent a first IVF/ICSI treatment within 6 months after preconception counselling. We applied adjusted logistic regression analysis on the outcomes of interest using SPSS.
Results: After adjustment for age of the woman, smoking of the woman, PDR of the partner, BMI of the couple and treatment indication we show an association between the PDR of the woman and the chance of ongoing pregnancy after IVF/ICSI treatment (odds ratio 1.65, confidence interval: 1.08-2.52; P=0.02]. Thus, a one-point increase in the PDR score associates with a 65% increased chance of ongoing pregnancy.
Conclusions: Our results show that increasing adherence to Dutch dietary recommendations in women undergoing IVF/ICSI treatment increases the chance of ongoing pregnancy. These data warrant further confirmation in couples achieving a spontaneous pregnancy and in randomized controlled trials.