IVF Pregnancy

Overweight men need to become match fit if they want to be fathers

Overweight men have been warned they need to become ‘match fit’ if they want to be fathers, as a fertility study claims too much attention has been focused on mothers’ weight.Overweight men need to become match fit if they want to be fathersScientists studying the impact obesity has on pregnancy are urging men to get ‘in shape’ before conceiving to assist with foetal development.

While the health risks surrounding obesity and pregnancy have largely been centred on overweight mothers, the onus is now on men to lose weight.

Less efficient sperm results in smaller foetuses, poor pregnancy success and reduced placental development.

The discovery was made by reproductive experts from the University of Melbourne, Australia.

World Health Organisation figures show that a staggering 48 per cent of adult males are overweight or obese – making the findings even more of a worry.

The research was conducted by Professor David Gardner, Dr Natalie Hannan and PhD student Natalie Binder.

Prof Gardner, Head of the Department of Zoology, said: “A lot of men don’t understand they need to be healthy before conceiving. Sperm needs to be ‘match fit’ for the games of life and creating life is the biggest thing that we can do.”

The study used IVF to determine the effects of paternal obesity on embryo implantation into the womb and foetal development.

PhD candidate Natalie Binder generated embryos from both normal weight and obese male mice.

She said: “We found development was delayed in the foetuses produced from obese fathers.  Furthermore, placental weight and development was significantly less for embryos derived from the sperm of obese males.

These findings indicate that paternal obesity not only negatively affects embryo development, but also impacts on the successful implantation into the womb.

“This then results in a small placenta which impairs fetal growth and development with long term consequences for the health of the offspring. Our study provides more information about the impact of obesity in men and their ability to start a family and the need to shed kilos in preparation to conceive.”

The findings were presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Endocrine Society of Australia and the Society for Reproductive Biology 2012.

From: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/Overweight-men-warned-they-need-to-become-match-fit-if-they-want-to-be-fathers

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Five cups of coffee a day as bad as smoking for IVF success

Drinking five or more cups of coffee a day – or similar amounts of tea – is as bad as smoking for women who want to get pregnant via IVF, say researchers.Five cups of coffee a day as bad as smoking for IVF successThe Danish team found women who drank that amount halved their chances of getting pregnant via fertility treatment, compared to those who drank none.

Dr Ulrik Kesmodel, of Aarhus University Hospital, said: “Although we were not surprised that coffee consumption appears to affect pregnancy rates in IVF, we were surprised at the magnitude of the effect.”

He described the adverse impact on IVF success as “comparable to the detrimental effect of smoking”.

Caffeine is believed to be the culprit, although nobody knows for sure.

He said: “If we believe it’s caffeine which does the damage, then we need to mention tea.”

A cup of instant coffee contains about 100mg of coffee, while a cup of tea contains half that.

Dr Kesmodel said women who drank 10 or more cups of tea a day should therefore cut down. He said five per cent of the 4,000 women they interviewed admitted drinking five or more cups of coffee daily.

He emphasised they found no effect on IVF pregnancy rates among those who drank less than that.

In 2008 the Food Standards Agency (FSA) said pregnant women should consume no more than 200mg of caffeine a day during pregnancy, after studies indicated drinking more than that could increase the risk of miscarriage and low birth weight. Its previous limit was 300mg.

At the time, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said that “caffeine consumption has adverse effects on reproduction, including IVF treatment”.

From: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/Five-cups-of-coffee-a-day-as-bad-as-smoking-for-IVF-success

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Mediterranean diet can help women get pregnant

Women wanting to get pregnant should eat a Mediterranean-style diet rich in avocados and olive oil but light in dairy and meat, an IVF conference has heard.Mediterranean diet can help women get pregnantNew research indicates a diet containing lots of monounsaturated fat – found in the fleshy green fruit, olive oil, as well as peanuts, almonds and cashews – can as much as triple the chance of success in women resorting to fertility treatment to conceive.

Specialists believe such a diet could help the majority of women wanting to get pregnant naturally as well.

By contrast eating lots of saturated fat, found in dairy products and red meat, appears to damage women’s fertility. High saturated fat intake has already been linked to lower sperm counts.

Dr Jorge Chavarro and colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health in the US, looked at how intake of different types of fats affected success of IVF treatment in 147 women, mostly in their 30s.

They found the women who ate the most monounsaturated fat had up to three times the chance of giving birth via IVF as those who ate the least.

Specifically the top third, who derived on average 25 per cent of their calories from monounsaturated fat, has three times the chance of success compared to the bottom third, who derived on average nine per cent of their calories from it.

However, those who ate the most saturated fat produced two fewer eggs suitable for test-tube fertilisation than those who ate the least – nine compared to 11.

Dr Chavarro said: “As far as the best fat profile is concerned, this is the fat profile that you would find in a Mediterranean diet.”

However, he cautioned that the study was very small and the findings needed to be replicated in larger numbers before firm advice could be issued. Nonetheless, he continued: “Even though we don’t know for sure if it will be of benefit, we do know it won’t be harmful.”

This was because numerous studies had shown Mediterranean-style diets to have a protective effect on health, particularly regarding heart disease.

The Harvard study also looked at the role of polyunsaturated fats, commonly thought to be healthy. They found that – perhaps unexpectedly – women with higher intakes of polyunsaturated fats tended to have lower quality eggs.

But Dr Jorge, a nutritionist and epidemiologist, explained there were different types of polyunsaturated fats – some that could hinder fertility and others that could help.

He said the women in the study tended to eat lots of omega-six polyunsaturates, found in corn and canola oils. He believed omega-three polyunsaturates, found in oily fish like salmon, were not harmful to fertility.

The study, presented at the annual meeting of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) in Istanbul, was not big enough to tease out the differences between the two types, he added.

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Obese women more likely to become pregnant if they lose weight research suggests

Obese women who are trying to conceive should try dieting before immediately turning to IVF treatment as women who lost weight were three times more likely to fall pregnant new research suggests.Obese women more likely to become pregnant if they lose weight research suggestsHalf of the women who lost weight became pregnant within a year compared with just one in seven of those not on a strict diet, the first randomised trial of its kind has shown.

The research being presented at the European Congress on Obesity, in Lyons, France, is believed to be the first to randomly assign obese women undergoing fertility treatment to a strict diet for 12 weeks or to receive only information about healthy eating.

Of the 49 women in the trial, conducted by Dr Kyra Sim, The Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders at the University of Sydney, Australia, the women on the diet lost more than 14lbs or 6.6kgs and their waist measurement dropped by an average of 3.6 inches or 9cm compared with just under 4lbs or 1.8kgs and 1cm for the women not on the diet.

The women who dieted needed fewer cycles of IVF to fall pregnant, saving on average £5,865 per pregnancy.

Dr Sim said: “A weight-loss intervention, incorporating dietary, exercise and behavioural components, is associated with significantly better pregnancy and economic outcomes in a group of obese women undergoing assisted reproductive technology.”

In many areas the NHS will not fund IVF treatment if the woman is overweight or obese as it is known that this makes fertility treatment less successful and riskier, however women are still able to pay privately.

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