Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and IVF treatment

Reprod Biomed Online. 2019 Jan;38(1):95-99. doi: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2018.10.008. Epub 2018 Dec 6.


Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are essential fatty acids, derived mostly from fish oil, that have a significant anti-inflammatory effect. Data from animal studies support their role in the reproductive mechanism, and recent human studies suggest a positive effect on sperm quality and natural conception. Their general role in human fertility, and specifically in IVF treatment, however, is not clear. A few small, prospective cohort studies have examined the relationship between serum PUFAs and outcome measures and success in IVF, with conflicting results. Some have demonstrated a better chance of live birth with increased levels of serum omega-3 PUFAs, whereas others have failed to show such a correlation, and the reasons for such differences are not clear. Moreover, no well-designed, published studies have assessing whether the administration of omega-3 PUFAs before IVF treatment can improve clinical pregnancy and live birth rates. The development of safe and well-tolerated pharmaceutical forms of the active omega-3 PUFAs, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), mean that assessment of this question is now possible and future studies are warranted.

Keywords: Fertility; In-vitro fertilization; Omega-3; Polyunsaturated fatty acids; Pregnancy.

MeSH terms

  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / blood*
  • Female
  • Fertility / drug effects
  • Fertility / physiology*
  • Fertilization in Vitro*
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Rate


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3