Dr. H. Singh, ND
Improving IVF Pregnancy Rates and Decreasing Damage to Embryos
With an average success rate for IVF in Canada being approximately 30% the role of alternative approaches to help support fertility treatment success rates. Among addressing many factors in the prenatal period a new research paper published in Belgium looked at how the negative impact of fertility medications on embryo quality and pregnancy rates may be neutralized with the use of micronutrients.
IVF medications, particularly gonadotropin analogues that are used to stimulate egg/follicle growth increase the oxidative stress and inflammation in the local ovarian environment. This increased chemical stress can cause harm to the follicles and increase fragmentation of their DNA. This particular study observed an increased methylation of the cancer-associated CpG2 dinucleotide of the human Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase (hTERT) promoter region in patients who underwent IVF without the adjunctive use of micronutrients. Using micronutrients during the IVF process translated to about a 18% decrease in the methylation rate of the same promoter region. Suggesting that using micronutrients may reduce the risk of cancer in offspring born from IVF compared to offspring born from IVF without the adjunctive use of micronutrients. However, the sample size in the study was small and higher-powered studies are required to verify these findings.
It is important to recognize the amount of growing evidence over the last couple of decades the role micronutrients can have on improving IVF and fertility treatment success rates. The micronutrients seem to exert an impact by reducing the damage to follicles/eggs and sperm cells, reducing sperm DNA fragmentation, and reducing the harmful effects of inflammation and oxidative stress to the gametes.
Specifically, the study published in Belgium found that the group of patients that used micronutrients during IVF had a positive pregnancy rate of up to 50% where patients that only took folic acid during the IVF had a pregnancy rate of 6%. While the number of study participants was small, it is important to recognize the potential role micronutrients and improved egg and embryo quality have on successful pregnancy rates.
This article is in no way a replacement for medical advice or medical care, it is advised that anyone concerned about their Health should speak with their Naturopathic Doctor. Please discuss with your healtcare provider and only make changes to your medications regimen if recommended by your doctor and under their guidance.