4 September 2023

The IVF Diet: Eating for Fertility Success

ivf diet
Medical Director
Cesar Diaz-Garcia
MD PhD Assoc Prof
IVI London


What is the IVF diet? Diet plays a crucial role in people’s overall health, as well as the success of assisted reproductive treatments. By following a proper eating plan, the quality of gametes, both eggs and sperm, can be improved, promoting an optimal environment in the uterus.

Throughout this article, we will explore different recommendations on what to eat before and during IVF treatment, delving into foods to avoid, as well as the nutritional needs of each stage of the process. We speak about the diet, before and during pregnancy.

Nutrition before and during IVF treatment

The most important aspect before starting an In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) treatment is to adopt a healthy and varied diet. This should include fresh foods such as fruits, vegetables, proteins, and healthy fats. By doing so, you will ensure the intake of essential nutrients beneficial to your fertility. For instance, Mediterranean Diet is a good example of nutritional balance.

Similarly, these healthy habits should continue during the IVF treatment. Your daily diet should focus on foods rich in vitamins and minerals, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Additionally, fish, poultry, and low-fat dairy products are equally important. It is also crucial to reduce or eliminate the consumption of processed foods, saturated fats, and refined sugars.

Macronutrient breakdown

Remember to always consult with a medical specialist as well as a nutrition expert. However, general recommendations suggest maintaining a balanced diet during IVF treatment. How should you distribute macronutrients in your daily nutritional plan? Approximately 40-50% of your calories should come from healthy carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Another 25-35% should come from lean protein sources, such as chicken, fish, legumes, or tofu. The remaining percentage (20-30%) should be reserved for the intake of healthy fats, found in foods like avocado, nuts, or olive oil.

Micronutrient essentials

On the other hand, micronutrients also play a significant role in fertility and embryonic development. Therefore, it is important to include foods rich in folic acid, iron, calcium, vitamin C, D, and E in your diet. Leafy greens, citrus fruits, dairy products, nuts, and seeds are also excellent options to ensure an adequate intake of micronutrients.


Similarly, maintaining adequate hydration levels is essential. Drinking a sufficient amount of water throughout the day will benefit the overall health of the IVF patient. The general recommendation is to consume at least eight glasses of water per day.

Foods to avoid to optimise fertility

If we have discussed what to include in the diet to maximise fertility so far, let’s now talk about foods to avoid. Firstly, it is recommended to completely eliminate the consumption of alcohol, tobacco, and other substances. Additionally, reduce the intake of caffeine and processed foods high in saturated fats and refined sugars. Moreover, it is advisable to reduce the consumption of foods rich in heavy metals or trace metals, such as mercury.

The IVF diet: nutritional needs during each stage

In addition to all the previous recommendations, are there any specific ones for each stage of IVF? During ovarian stimulation, it may be advisable to maintain an adequate intake of protein-rich foods. You can include foods such as chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, tofu, or legumes in your diet.

On the other hand, when it comes to the embryo transfer stage, it may be beneficial to prioritize foods rich in antioxidants for the uterine environment. You can increase your consumption of berries, citrus fruits, broccoli, or spinach. Healthy fats, such as olive oil or avocados, are also recommended for the implantation and embryonic development.

Lastly, once the embryo transfer has taken place, it is equally important to continue with a healthy diet. The majority of your daily diet should consist of nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables, proteins, among others. Additionally, maintaining adequate levels of folic acid, iron, and calcium is equally important.

Following a healthy and balanced lifestyle is always recommended, but before, during, and after IVF, it can have a positive impact on the success of the treatment. Therefore, always follow the recommendations of the reproductive medicine specialist, who can provide personalized advice based on your individual needs.


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