Maternal whole grain intake and outcomes of in vitro fertilization

Fertil Steril. 2016 Jun;105(6):1503-1510.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2016.02.015. Epub 2016 Feb 28.


Objective: To evaluate the relationship between pretreatment intake of whole grains and outcomes of IVF.

Design: Prospective cohort study.

Setting: Academic medical center.

Patient(s): A total of 273 women who collectively underwent 438 IVF cycles.

Intervention(s): Whole grain intake was assessed with a validated food frequency questionnaire at enrollment.

Main outcome measure(s): Intermediate and clinical end points of IVF were abstracted from medical records.

Result(s): Women had a median whole grain intake of 34.2 g per day (∼1.2 servings/day). Higher pretreatment whole grain intake was associated with higher probability of implantation and live birth. The adjusted percentage of cycles resulting in live birth for women in the highest quartile of whole grain intake (>52.4 g/day) was 53% (95% confidence interval [CI] 41%, 65%) compared with 35% (95% CI 25%, 46%) for women in the lowest quartile (<21.4 g/day). This association was largely driven by intake of bran as opposed to germ. When intermediate end points of IVF were examined, only endometrial thickness on the day of ET was associated with whole grain intake. A 28-g per day (∼1 serving/day) increase in whole grain intake was associated with a 0.4-mm (95% CI 0.1, 0.7 mm) increase in endometrial thickness.

Conclusion(s): Higher pretreatment whole grain intake was related to higher probability of live birth among women undergoing IVF. The higher probability of live birth may result from increased endometrial thickness on the day of ET and improved embryo receptivity manifested in a higher probability of implantation.

Keywords: Whole grains; assisted reproductive technology; female infertility; in vitro fertilization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diet Records
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro / trends*
  • Humans
  • Live Birth* / epidemiology
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Whole Grains*


  • Dietary Carbohydrates